12,000 lb isnt that heavy, thats about the weight tank gun.
The laser they are using is a 2 part system.
There is another type of chemical laser that was developed by the russians in the 80's. It was a a 2 part system as well except that the chemicals
are pumped under pressure into a turbine, where they are "combusted". The exhaust consists of gasses and light of a coherent frequency.
It was originaly developed for use as a space based weapon, and the US bought the designs to it in the early 90's when the russian federation was
strapped for cash. Dont really knpow what became of it.
Its interesting that there are two different programs going that have overlapping roles.
I saw the ABL being flown into one the the airbases around San Bernadino, in 2004. I was riding my motorcycle in the hills down there, we had just
arrived and it was about 6:30am when it flew over at about 500'.
Its not coming along quite as fast as hoped for.
I read an article a couple of months ago that talked about a vehicle mounted solid state infra-red laser that is well along in development.
They interviewed someone on the project and he said it was alot like that scene in War of the Worlds when the martians are just vaporizing stuff.
WAAAAAY back in 1979 or 1980 there were clips played on the evening news of a laser shooting down drones and missles, then you heard nothing about
it. About the same year there were news reports about microwave rifles, and they showed tape of one burning a hole in a manequin.
Never heard anything about it again.
I have seen a test plate from weapons grade laser. It was a piece of amor plate about 3/4" thick it had a 5/8"-11/16" hole burned through it. I
was told it was from a fairly close distance(more than several feet), but it was still a very impressive display for when it was shown to me, about 20
DOE patented an electron beam weapon last year..
On a side note, I was thinking what if you used a laser to "open" a path through the air for a charged particle beam.