"Ships with fricken lasers on there decks"
Well, it had to happen! This is awesome.
I know there has been many stories about this, but it finally looks like there bringing out the big guns......I mean Lasers.
During a year of budget cuts that has the U.S. military freaking out, the Navy is improbably signaling it’ll take major steps forward on developing
Next month, the Navy plans to devote a big panel discussion on the “Breakthrough Technologies” behind energy weapons at its annual D.C.-area
confab known as Sea Air Space. Heading it will be the officer charged with moving those lasers out of sci-fi and onto ships, Rear Adm. Matthew
Klunder, the Navy’s chief of research. It’ll be a de facto prologue to a far more significant event the Navy plans in the coming months: the
first-ever demonstration tour of a laser gun aboard a surface ship, the U.S.S. Ponce.
That’s a major show of confidence in laser technology, for two reasons. First, testing a laser gun — most likely a solid-state laser — on a ship
at sea puts enormous pressure on a much-hyped weapon to show-and-prove. Second, the laser isn’t going on any old ship, it’s going on the Ponce,
recently retrofitted to become an “Afloat Forward Staging Base” — that is, a new launchpad for attack helicopters, drones and commandos for,
among other missions, counterterrorism raids. In other words, the Navy is putting laser weaponry aboard one of the ships it’s most eager to
All of this is still a demonstration — one with the added and perhaps unintended consequence of adding more hype to a form of weapon that’s been
nothing but hype for literally decades. But it comes at a time when congressionally mandated budget shortfalls have the Navy scaling back nearly
everything it plans on doing this year. Research cash is especially scarce. Yet one of the naval community’s biggest laser advocates argues that the
unique features of so-called “directed energy” weaponry are particularly well-suited for an era of tighter budgets.
“In a sense, it’s more economical — but more than just theoretically economical, it’s a way to have deeper magazines, because your fuel tanks
become your mags,” says Nevin Carr, a retired two-star admiral who preceded Klunder as head of the Office of Naval Research. (Klunder declined
comment for this story.) Laser weaponry recharges by taking power from a power source like a shipboard generator. Keep adding power and the gun will
keep shooting, provided that the ship isn’t diverting power from its propulsion systems. (A big caveat, and one that the Navy repeatedly swears
it’s got covered.)
A rechargeable magazine doesn’t just save the Navy money on weapons. “Now that refueling becomes rearming, it changes the logistics trail,” Carr
argues. “Think of all the ships that carry weapons” to warships across oceans, burning through fuel — and rising fuel costs are a problem the
Navy just hasn’t been able to solve.
edit on 19-3-2013 by CaptainBeno because: link