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Northrop Grumman Corp. engineers in Redondo Beach have developed an electric laser capable of producing a deadly 100-kilowatt ray of light, a major milestone that is expected to help transform what was once a Buck Rogers space fantasy into reality.
Announced Wednesday, the landmark achievement -- long considered a Holy Grail for weapon developers -- opens the way for development of laser weapons small enough to fit in a fighter jet yet powerful enough to destroy an enemy craft in the blink of an eye.
But other properties of the laser give military strategists powerful incentives to overcome these difficulties. Ordinary bullets and missiles follow arcing trajectories that must be carefully calculated in advance; laser beams are virtually unaffected by the pull of the earth's gravity or by winds, and fly as straight as the proverbial arrow. Traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), they reach their targets literally in a flash; even a computer-controlled ICBM could not maneuver fast enough to get out of their path.
Such sophisticated weaponry is probably at least a decade away, but more down-to-earth military uses of the laser may be much closer at hand. TRW Systems in Redondo Beach, Calif., for instance, is working on a portable chemical laser (which produces a beam from the energy released in the reaction of two or more chemicals) that could be carried into battle by a unit of only three men. Aimed like a rifle, it would silently burn a fatal, quarter-inch-wide hole in the body of an enemy soldier up to five miles away. "Once you've got him in your sights," says a TRW engineer, "you've got him. There are no misses."
On December 12, 2002, Northrop Grumman acquired the corporation. The defense business was retained by Northrop Grumman. An 80.1% stake (later increased to more than 90%) in TRW Automotive Holdings, including the former LucasVarity Automotive, was spun off to The Blackstone Group, with John C. Plant retaining his position as President and the new company being renamed TRW Automotive Inc. TRW Aeronautical Systems, formerly Lucas Aerospace, was purchased by the American Goodrich Corporation.
Originally posted by phi1618
so the same tech they use to hit mid flight missiles is now going to be in the hands of the ordinary foot soldier. This will take time to be practical cost wise.
Originally posted by ConspiracySquid7
Hmm sounds very interesting. IF we can perfect this just imagine the possibilities at our disposal.