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US SOCOM to Test Laser Weapon Fired from Apache Helicopter This Summer

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posted on May, 27 2016 @ 12:32 PM
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Special Operations Command will test a laser weapon on an Apache helicopter this summer, said one official May 26.

SOCOM's program executive office rotary wing is working alongside the Army’s project office for Apache Attack Helicopters to conduct a feasibility test this summer, said Col. John Vannoy, program manager for rotary wing.

“There is absolutely a niche I believe for use of directed energy weapons,” he said during a briefing at the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. “The lens we are looking at this through right now is: ‘Is it feasible to do this?’ We’re not at the point where we’ve laid out a business case to advance it.”

The office envisions using a laser weapon to destroy vehicles or generators versus sending in a missile that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

Vannoy’s office and the Army's Apache office have entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with Raytheon to put a podded laser on the aircraft, he said.

“We really want to understand the environment on the wing, the beam quality we can get off the wing and the ability to beam steer and keep power on a target,” he said.

Environmental factors such as dust could affect beam quality. In addition, the vibrations on an Apache’s wing could affect steering, he said.

Vannoy did not disclose a specific timeframe for the test or when results would be made public. “Most of that will be internal quite frankly,” he said.

The effort is still in its infancy, he said. “I wouldn’t say that we’re at the tipping point and you’re going to see a Star Wars like effect or a Death Star laser hanging off the side of a rotary wing aircraft,” he said.

A directed energy weapon could also be mounted on an MH-60 Black Hawk, he said.


www.nationaldefensemagazine.org...

Two bits.

1. I expect it will be a tough test. Choppers are even more shaky than fixed wing aircraft and they will need to isolate the laser from the vibration or beam quality will be shbt.

2. This will probably be low power. Technically, it will be a high energy laser (by military definition, iirc, in excess of a kilowatt), but will probably be no more powerful than 10 kw. This is useful for soft targets and potentially very short range self defense.

However, do not expect anything too quickly on the battlefield, even with SOCOM's crazy rapid development/deployment cycle.




posted on May, 27 2016 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Be about as tough as a tank shooting while moving
Gun stabilizer...it could work great..I guess they could always blind the enemy versus vaporizing them...



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 01:43 PM
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originally posted by: chrismarco
a reply to: anzha

Be about as tough as a tank shooting while moving
Gun stabilizer...it could work great..I guess they could always blind the enemy versus vaporizing them...


They can melt the pin off of their towel so it unravels over their faces.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 01:55 PM
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originally posted by: chrismarco
a reply to: anzha

Be about as tough as a tank shooting while moving
Gun stabilizer...it could work great..I guess they could always blind the enemy versus vaporizing them...


No you mean WAPOR RIZING ZEM. thanks checkov.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 07:22 PM
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If it was light enough it would mount on a smaller chopper in the future.Wonder how many hardpoints an Apache will lose with weight of the extra equipment though.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 10:30 PM
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Forget Choppers. A Laser AA will start shooting all of ehm down. Choppers will become outdated when Lasers comes out.



posted on May, 27 2016 @ 11:39 PM
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a reply to: makemap

You'll still need pinpoint insertion, medevac, and fast attack, on station CAS. Most of the time that is the role of helicopter.



posted on May, 28 2016 @ 11:28 AM
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pew pew pew.

personally I think we need a few of these.

a drone attack helicopter. Put a laser on that sucker





posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 11:30 AM
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"Two bits. 1. I expect it will be a tough test. Choppers are even more shaky than fixed wing aircraft and they will need to isolate the laser from the vibration or beam quality will be shbt. 2. This will probably be low power. Technically, it will be a high energy laser (by military definition, iirc, in excess of a kilowatt), but will probably be no more powerful than 10 kw. This is useful for soft targets and potentially very short range self defense."...

Apaches already use lasers to designate targets...part of the TADS/PNVS turret on the nose. So, not so difficult, TADS is stabilized, I'm not sure if it's digital or gyroscopic.

Power would be the most difficult, but would simply be a matter of the generator/capacitor combos. AH 64's have plenty of capability with 2 T700's giving around 1400 kW/1800+ shp each and an APU as well, you're most likely limited only by lift and fuel endurance. Just my 2 cents worth...E2B a reply to: anzha



posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 11:37 AM
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a reply to: grey580

Awesome ghost in the shell SAC reference. I always wanted one of those too....uh. without the faulty AI



posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 01:11 PM
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a reply to: BASSPLYR

yeah.

I wonder why they don't have drone copters like this. they can park these around a city for cas. and fly them in as needed.



posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 01:20 PM
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a reply to: anzha

The vibration / steering problem can be negated by using micro hydrolics to make many, many micro-adjustments every second on the fly (no pun).

A bit like an optical telescope can make many 1000's of tiny adjustments per second to it's mirrors to counter the shimmer effect from Atmospheric distortion..same thing can be used on the lasers, but on a smaller scale of course.

On the negative side, this tech can be easily countered and effectively neutralised in a number of low tech, cheap ways.

Smoke being one, highly reflective surfaces, like mirrors, mylar, polished surfaces and so on being one of the others.

This would only be effective on unsuspecting targets of opportunity...or not prepared for it in other words.

If deployed en-masse, any potential enemy will be well versed in counter tactics within weeks.



posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 10:35 PM
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a reply to: cavjafo

If the beam jitters as much as 1 foot for a designator, it doesn't matter much.

For a laser weapon, it does.

A lot.



posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 10:40 PM
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originally posted by: MysterX
On the negative side, this tech can be easily countered and effectively neutralised in a number of low tech, cheap ways.


100kW of well collimated beam will deal with smoke and space blankets. No mirror is perfect, and engineering one that can stand up to high power density is an art. A bathroom mirror won't cut it, nor will aluminized mylar.



posted on Jun, 2 2016 @ 01:56 AM
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a reply to: cavjafo



Apaches already use lasers to designate targets...part of the TADS/PNVS turret on the nose. So, not so difficult, TADS is stabilized, I'm not sure if it's digital or gyroscopic.


TADS use double gimbal (coarse/fine) stabilized platform using rate gyro (that were often leaking oil), at least in the 80's, hopefully upgraded by now... The stabilization loop of the TADS is also cued by data coming from the craft gyro. One LM engineer once told me that Apache is like a giant collection of rattling loose parts.

Automatic target tracking will normally need a gimballed tracking mirror based on torque motors as the stabilized platform does not respond fast enough to high frequency angular change. Easy for low avg power laser but harder for high avg pwr laser that need cooled large aperture Cu based mirror.

In theory, powerfull lasers are cool, but in practice you need to keep the optics ultraclean, the slightest bit of dirt on an optical surface will absorb power and induce catastrophic self-inducing damage to the optics. This is not compatible with battlefield harsh conditions. The pen pusher will tell you that the system is wonderfull, but they will never tell you how long it will perform under combat conditions before needing maintenance. Do you know how to paralyse an Apache AH-64 with just one bullet? I wont tell this info but it is NOT by firing at the windshield toward pilot or gunner...



posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 12:16 AM
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I'm guessing they're testing some sort of concept for using lasers to intercept incoming missiles and RPGs?



posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 01:41 AM
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Here are some calculations for all of the laser fanboys to debunk...

In my times playing with laser, I used to put a lens into a 50W cw CO2 laser to produce a focus were I can burn material of all sort... The lens was of short focal distance but merit figure of beam was not perfect, so I assume I created a focal point (beam waist) of about 0.1mm diameter. This give a circle of area of ~7.9E-9 m^2. Given total power of 50W, the irradiance would be 6.3 GW/m^2. At this power density level I was just able to burn wood, but NEVER dent any metal at all.



posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 02:24 AM
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Finally here some data about what we can achieve in practice using Epner Laser Gold reflective coating. Enjoy the specs:

www.epner.com...

"
Coating type: HR@1064nm
Damage threshold: 110MW/cm^2
Damage type: Propagating pit(s) to the entrance surface.
"

Not to "break" your party, but irradiance of 110MW/cm^2 inside a 30cm diameter circle represent (top hat power shape) a mere 77.8 GW total laser beam power.

So good luck trying to "vaporize" an incoming effector coated in full with Epner Laser Gold, and take good note it is a very robust coating. Your best hope is to destroy the guidance sensors or better, hope this is a plywood made intercontinental ballistic missile coming from North Korea... But frankly, in that case, it would be easier to simply extinguish the wick...



posted on Jun, 4 2016 @ 06:49 AM
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Are we going to see pimped out Technicals with gold plated bling in the Middle East now?




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