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The future of small arms?

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posted on Jan, 7 2007 @ 02:50 PM
Maybe this is it, the Stavatti TIS-1 (Tactical Infantry System-1) Gasdynamic Laser Weapon.

The TIS-1 is a laser rifle that utilizes a hypersonic jet of gas to create photonic energy in the form a very powerful laser, hence the term "gasdynamic". The Stavatti TIS-1 was submitted as a possible technology for the U.S. Army's LFLAN requirement. "LFLAN" stands for "Light Fighter Lethality After Next". LFLAN involves small arms technology proposals that would not be implemented until 15-25 years down the road. In other words, truly futuristic technology.

Before a weapon like the TIS-1 could be adopted, a number of technichal hurdles would have to be successfully negotiated. These include developing a viable power source that could provide adequate long-term power, heat containment/shielding, and forward recoil mitigation.

posted on Jan, 9 2007 @ 08:04 AM
A very interesting post Retseh.

The use of lasers in a built up area in house to house fighting for example, offers a slightly higher accuracy - but only if, they are coupled to a standard infantry weapon, and used as a sighting device.

The use of lasers as a shoulder fired weapon aka Star Wars, is highly suspect to say the least. A laser beam is a 'high-energy' beam of light that can be degraded by weather conditions at the time, such as mist, rain, sleet or snow.

GTLDs are also greatly effected by weather conditions including humidity, and I seriously doubt that science has developed a laser that is not effected by the weather.

I would suspect that all is not what it appears to be and I await developments with interest.

posted on Jan, 9 2007 @ 10:54 AM
I kept looking for a power source. Then I saw it was 'Stavanti' (advocators of that wonder-jet the XF-26 Stalma) and started to giggle. Continuing on, I got to the part which said 'Polonium 210 as a constant emitter of alpha particles would need to be produced in multigram quantities'.

And I just rolled on the carpet.

The world is not ready for thy Lightsaber Luke...

Some things to keep in mind:

1. Soldiers don't aim at a target, they fire /through/ a volume which that target may occupy. And the numbers necessary to get this saturation are just outrageous in terms of rounds per minute. 300-600spm X 10 guys is a Minigun worth of ROF. Particularly when you are denied grenades as the primary means of suppression and dislodgement, the quantity of fires expended can quickly total tens of thousands of rounds _per engagement_.
Lasers that fire as quickly as your finger pulls the trigger have no place in such a tactical engagement model.

2. Ultralongrange doesn't apply to 90% of infantry engagements, between LOS restrictions and the inability to maintain contact in a large number of engagement conditions as a function of densely builtup or overgrown terrain, you just don't find yourself with a lot of longrange targets. There are exceptions in which the terrain funnels shots from /extreme/ distances (highrise buildings etc.). And that is what Snipers and Sergeants are for. Snipers to keep the other guy from using his own sharpshooters as disengagement/suppression/desultory assassination aids. Sergeants to keep rookies from charging out into a predesignated long-range ambush condition.

3. Sniping itself remains a complex art simply because _the average soldier_ is not a sufficiently capable marksman to hold the damn gun steady enough, to hit a target anything much beyond 250-300m (assuming his peashooter will 'stay the course'). At 1,500m, you can twitch a millimeter or three and be off a foot, even if there is no windage and no drop with ZTOF arrival times.

The future of small arms as LOS determinative weapons lies in a few basic areas:

A. Cost.
Ideally, you want something which has even less use of cast/machined metals and high end (thermal + impact) furniture than is the case today with stamped + plastic everything. You similarly do not want to have to pay for various models for different terrain types nor large replacement stocks of green training vs. combat ammo and replacement barrels.

B. Sophistication.
At the same time, you want the engineering behind the basic /operating process/ to be sufficiently pricey to develop manufacturing methods for that it effectively denies at least the 3rd world shooter the opportunity to copy it. Where any gun can kill a man, at typical firing distances and with largely unprotected head and leg areas, the need is to make YOUR gun so hard to produce that whatever advantages it brings to the fight are singular for long enough to give you a significant military if not geopolitical lead. Another AK-47/M16 faceoff we do not need. Ideally this should extend to unauthorized use as well.

C. Engagement Modes.
Every buck you pull out of the firing mechanism and million-round manufacturing process perse increases the quantity of cash you can put into 'accuracy enhancers' of various kinds. The first step being obviously combat optics like the reddot. But particularly for a weapon which doesn't necessarily require a full length barrel to accomodate beam focussing optics, it is more likely that any 'scope' will in fact be designed to enable the soldier to shoot _better_ than his natural hand-eye coordination and visual accuity will accomodate. I'm not saying that the weapon has to function like a Star Trek phaser with 'area of effect' stun/kill/vaporize modes, but if you can sweep an area and have onboard systems designate several stacked targets for engagement 'on command' you gain the ability to fight much better in both meeting engagements where you are face to face with a sudden popup threat at any of several likely range points. And in collaterals dense urban fights where you have to be able to kill several bad guys quickly while having (via a monocular or visor type display) the option to hit a 'skip next target' option as you shoot over the women and kids they hide behind.

The ideal weapon is so small that it doesn't effect accuracy as thru hold strain (the dreaded muzzle wobble) with weight ahead of the user's CG.

It has little or no firing signature and particularly recoil so that the user is neither given away, has his shot ruined nor is desensitized to surrounding environmental conditions and can ideally separate own and threat forces by the _silence_ of his side's weaponry.

Said gun has no kinetic mass (gravity drop or crosswind) limitations on maximum range and thus can be used as a simulator with training mode target marking engagement via the same basic firing mechanism and common playback from scope video as 'proof of kill' (i.e. more than MILES) from multiple recorded perspectives.

The weapon uses cheap, lightweight and/or high capacity SAFE (non explosive, toxic or flammable to external contact) round storage to elminate physical wastes of materials inherent to powder, case, primer, round manufacture and integration while increasing the number of rounds onboard the weapon by 2-3 times so as to limit magazine effects on user carry modes.

Right now, you are lucky to get away with 10-12, 2lb, M16 mags in a typical longrange patrol loadout. That's 24lbs for 360 rounds /in ammo/. Not counting 6-8 grenades and belts/rounds for the support weapons. If you make a magazine weigh three pounds while carrying 90 rounds onboard, 4 X 3 = 12lbs or a halved carry load for the same round count (and fewer 'embarrassing musket moments').

Lastly, the weapon MUST be first-round lethal -and accurate- as to make multiple engagements of the same target unnecessary. Right now, laser weapons can burn and are significant eyehazards (both of which are outlawed weapons effects under Hague and Geneva) but they are not man-portable-man-killers in the sense of penetrating PBA and clothing and skin and bone to score centermass hits with sufficient residual energy to disrupt deep organ/tissue function and thus immediately put a target down. Not in small arms models anyway.



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