posted on May, 27 2011 @ 06:00 PM
If you were a sniper, an energy weapon would get rid of the problem of deviation and windage. Range would be pretty much line of sight. If you could
see it, you could hit it. It would also be quieter than any existing firearm. (No pew-pew noises like in the movies.) But some weapons if producing a
discharge in a visible wavelength would be disadvantageous because they would paint a bee-line trail back to the shooter. Something that you'd
obviously not want when sniping.
The only thing is, current technology doesn't have enough energy density to produce much in the way of man-portable energy weapons. (Other than
blinding devices which are supposedly banned under a UN arms treaty. Those that don't fight within the rules have a small advantage there, as OTS
consumer-grade laser diodes can easily be weaponized in that regard. And blind combatants are about as useful as dead or otherwise heavily injured
ones.) The directed energy weapons that can actually blow things up are relegated to things that can fit on a tank chasis, or some kind of pod used on
a ship or aircraft hardpoint mount. They are neither small nor lightweight. And because of the speed-of-light advantage, those are primarily used as
anti-air/anti-missile systems taking over the role once covered by Phalanx/CIWS type systems.
Much more exotic energy weapons might be able to deploy packets of stuff like anti-matter. (Obviously speculative at this point, since antimatter
isn't something we can regularly produce easily.) A toroidial discharge of current (think ball-lightning) might be stable enough to contain
anti-matter within its magnetic field. Depending on what it hits, the current would discharge and the breakdown of the field would release the
anti-matter. It would be similar to having the explosive power of a very heavy artillery round in compact form. If feasible, think of something
designed with a maximum firepower effect comparable to a 16-inch battleship gun on a turret mount similar in size to that on a Bradley Fighting
vehicle. If something like this is actually possible, any vehicle capable of deploying it isn't something you'd want to mess with.
As for why we need them, who knows? Why do we need half of the weapons as deployed by various militaries right now? Most likely it has something to do
with the ability to "project force" if desired and "staying ahead of the other guy".