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U.S. Navy Laser Weapon Shoots Down Drones in Test [Video]

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posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 12:27 AM
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I thought this was pretty cool, this is the first time I have ever seen a laser being utilized to target a fairly fast moving object. The Phalanx is a "rapid fire, computer controlled, radar guided gun system-used electro-optical tracking and radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS, which is made up of six solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts that simultaneously focus on target."

How much power is 32 kilowatts? I'm not sure but it's probably enough to burn something.

Navy Shoots Down Drone In Test




The maritime UAV target practice session could be a significant step in a decades-long quest undertaken by the U.S. military and several defense contractors to bring lasers to the battlefield. Raytheon's latest test follows related experiments in 2006 and 2008. In the former, Raytheon used a solid-state laser to destroy a static mortar, whereas in the latter, the laser blew up an incoming mortar shell over land.





Knocking down drones over water is a different matter though. The effect of the moist maritime environment on a laser's ability to propagate has been a nagging question for the technology, says Mike Booen, vice president of Raytheon's Advanced Security and Directed Energy Systems product line. Now that the laser-enhanced Phalanx has demonstrated the ability to find and hit incoming UAVs, the weapon will be installed on an operational Navy test ship for additional testing, he adds. Still, even if the laser system continues to test successfully, such a weapon would not be fully developed for combat before 2016, according to Booen.

The U.S. military has used Phalanx for decades to shoot down mortars and rockets. The weapon combines a 20-millimeter Gatling gun that fires at a rate of either 3,000 or 4,500 shots per minute, with radar to search for and track targets. The U.S. Navy has used a land-based version of Phalanx in Iraq since 2005. Mounting a laser cannon beside the Gatling gun should extend the range at which incoming ordinance and UAVs can be eliminated. Although Booen says that for security reasons he cannot divulge the distance at which the laser-based systems can shoot down incoming threats (or the UAVs' altitudes during the Navy test), he notes that the military would not be interested in the new laser technology if it could not at least double the range of existing weapons.
Navy planners are interested in using lasers in to help naval vessels fend off potential attacks by squadrons of small boats, citing an incident that occurred in early 2008 in the Strait of Hormuz (a waterway connecting the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf). "The MLD system we are under contract to build for [the U.S. Office of Naval Research] will be scalable to a variety of power levels," according to Northrop spokesman Bob Bishop. "That means that laser power can be added—or subtracted—to meet the level of response necessary to address the threat, all within the same modular laser weapon system."

The military hopes that, in addition to extending the range of their weapons, lasers will also improve targeting precision. Another advantage, Booen says, is that lasers require electricity rather than ordinance. As long as there is current, the weapon will not run out of ammo.





During the test, the Navy's Laser Weapon System (LaWS), guided by Raytheon's Phalanx Close-In Weapon System sensors, engaged and destroyed four UAV targets flying over water near the Navy's weapons and training facility on San Nicolas Island in California's Santa Barbara Channel, about 120 kilometers west of Los Angeles. The Phalanx—a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system—used electro-optical tracking and radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS, which is made up of six solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts that simultaneously focus on a target.


www.scientificamerican.com...
spec




posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 01:13 AM
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This is the first at sea test. not the first time drones have been shot down.
last year, the US Navy and Air Force zapped several drones with beam weapons in a series of tests at China Lake, California, but this test brings an additional bit of realism -- and an extra technical challenge.

www.cnn.com...

The idea of putting the laser as a add on to a Phalanx gun system is interesting.
It would save a lot of money and space on ships by building it as a duel use system.



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 01:14 AM
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I was in the Navy.1965-69. By the time I was released from active duty. I no longer had faith ,in any Goverment of any type.
So I guess, it comes down to. Just go away an leave me alone. I've been doing fine. Sense 1969

I AM Suohhen
AKA Treeshaker



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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great thread man keep em coming



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:15 AM
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reply to post by ANNED
 


Thanks for the insight ANNED, I am unfamiliar with such things so this is new to me. Yes it seems being able to perform over water is a new ability for such technology. It does seem more efficient too.
Thanks for the reply!

spec



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:17 AM
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reply to post by teddster86
 

Thanks teddster86

My pleasure man, I thought this was thread worthy and I'm glad you like it.

spec



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
I thought this was pretty cool, this is the first time I have ever seen a laser being utilized to target a fairly fast moving object. The Phalanx is a "rapid fire, computer controlled, radar guided gun system-used electro-optical tracking and radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS, which is made up of six solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts that simultaneously focus on target."

How much power is 32 kilowatts? I'm not sure but it's probably enough to burn something.


In a sense, not that much. 32 hair dryers set on high. For a laser input, not much, but for a HEL laser output, especially if you've got a good, tight beam, it's pretty healthy.

It should be noted that "burn up" is not what's going to happen at 32kW, more like cause fatal 'skin' damage and/or deflagrate the fuel supply or warhead.

32kW output is pretty good for a solid-state laser. THEL, on the other hand, has an output about 30x that.



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:55 AM
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reply to post by Bedlam
 


Thank you Bedlam, I was wondering just how powerful 32 KW's is. I did not know of THEL either, I will look into it. Watching the vid makes me think this technology will change the playing field a bit, advantage to those with successful utilization of lasers. How does one defend against such a thing?

spec



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
reply to post by Bedlam
 
How does one defend against such a thing?

spec


Don't get hit. Spoof the fire direction system. Make the system fire a lot of misses - solid state laser systems like this have a heat capacity problem, and chemical gas dynamic lasers like THEL use up a lot of reactants, so every miss counts towards shutting down the system for cooling or reloads.



posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 01:00 PM
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[edit on 25-7-2010 by airspoon]



posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 01:15 PM
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Cool, but why do I think we are heading towards this?




Command and Conquer anyone?

King



posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by Kingalbrect79
 


No pic...curious though....

spec



posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 01:37 PM
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But to get 32kw output you need a gigawatt of input and if the surface of the plane was made to refelct the bean then it might take a lot more than 32kw to bring a plane down and do remember it has air cooling as it flys.

if i was flying a plane and was under attack from a lazer then i would roll the plane so to me you need a knockout punch and not a slow burn.

God knows what Russia and China has but one day lazers will become a real threat and counter measures will have to move with it.

Won't be long before our facist police force will be using such weapons aginst protestors at the G8 meetings.



posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 03:14 PM
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Navy 1, Black Triangle Drones 0

Go Navy!

next the Killer Tomatoes!



posted on Jul, 25 2010 @ 09:04 PM
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reply to post by LieBuster
 




if i was flying a plane and was under attack from a lazer then i would roll the plane so to me you need a knockout punch and not a slow burn.


Good point, might need some type of sensors to detect laser attack because you might not know when it has begun melting it's way thru the fuselage.
Whenever I hear laser I always associate mirrors with it so I wonder if a defense mechanism could involve deployable mirrors that reflected the beam away from target?
I bet once the Navy has this delivery system locked down, they will utilize more powerful lasers in the future, like the one mentioned earlier in this thread, THEL.

spec



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