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  1. Laser weapons : things just keep getting better and better

    THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 10 March 2015. Laser weapons , they're just around the corner, right? We've been hearing that now for years; it's like so many other things -- always just two years away. Still, U.S. military high-energy laser weapon research and development is moving ahead quickly and laser experts have reached several important milestones in the last year alone. Just last month Lockheed Martin officials announced an important demonstration by their company of a in which a 30-kilowatt fiber laser to burn through the engine manifold of a stationary-but-running small truck in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away. That's 30 kilowatts, mind you. It burned through a truck engine -- including the hood -- in a matter of seconds. That's some serious weapons-grade damage with 30 kilowatts. It makes one wonder what might be possible with laser weapons that are even stronger. Just last fall the U.S. Navy finished a three-month demonstration during an at-sea deployment in the Persian Gulf of a shipboard laser weapon as strong as 30 kilowatts called the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce. The tests ran from September to November. Related: Navy shipboard laser weapon kills boats and UAVs during three-month at-sea tests in Persian Gulf LaWS is designed to kill unmanned aircraft, swarming attack boats, and other small targets. As weapons like this increase in power and accuracy they should be able to shoot down manned aircraft, helicopters, incoming missiles, and perhaps even sink enemy ships by piercing their hulls with lethal high-energy beams of light. Laser weapons research has been going on for quite a while. As far back as April 2011 experts at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Space Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif., demonstrate the 100-kilowatt Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD) as part of the military's Joint High Powered Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) program. That demonstration, performed off the Coast of California, disabled the engines of a small boat in moderate ocean swells from the deck of a former Navy destroyer. It took several seconds to destroy the boat engines, but laser operators had to contend with distance, ocean movement, and ocean humidity. So where are we going with all this? Laser weapons developers are accelerating their development of laser weapons that not only are in the 100-kilowatt class, but also that are small, lightweight, and rugged enough for deployment in real-world conditions. Last August, for example, the Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems segment in El Segundo, Calif., won a Navy research contract to develop a 25-kilowatt tactical laser weapon for the future Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to protect moving U.S. Marine Corps task forces from UAVs, cruise missiles, and other weapons that are difficult to pick up on radar. Related: General Atomics to develop 150-kilowatt chemical laser weapon in $39.8 million HELLADS contract from DARPA Engineers from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are working with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in San Diego to develop a 150-kilowatt laser weapon based on a combination of chemical laser and solid-state laser technologies as part of the fourth phase of the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program. That kind of power in a laser weapon, harnessed properly, could blast enemy fighter aircraft out of the sky, as well as create a wide variety of havoc on the battlefield. Related to the Lockheed Martin demonstration is an effort by the Lockheed Martin Laser and Sensor Systems segment in Bothell, Wash. (formerly Lockheed Martin Aculight), to help the U.S. Army develop a 60-kilowatt fiber laser module for a truck-mounted laser weapon system intended to shoot down enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), rockets, artillery rounds, and mortars. The 60-kilowatt laser module that Lockheed Martin is developing will be for the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) -- a joint project of the Army and the Boeing Co. Directed Energy Systems segment in St. Louis. It still may be a while before laser weapons development finally leaves the laboratory and heads for the battlefield, but with the technologies being developed today, tomorrow's laser weapons will be devastating.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 10 Mar 2015

  2. Navy scraps prototype laser weapons project for sea-based helicopters

    U.S. Navy laser weapons experts say they are scrapping a plan to develop a high-energy laser weapon for manned and unmanned helicopters to perform a variety of military operations at sea.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Wed, 15 Oct 2014

  3. Navy shipboard laser weapon kills boats and UAVs during three-month at-sea tests in Persian Gulf

    ARLINGTON, Va., 10 Dec. 2014. U.S. Navy researchers have completed three months of at-sea testing of a shipboard high-energy laser weapon that could bring deck-mounted machine gun-like defensive capability to U.S. and allied surface warships at a fraction of the cost.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 10 Dec 2014

  4. Navy scraps anticipated program to develop prototype laser weapons for helicopter operations at sea

    RIDGECREST, Calif., 14 Aug. 2014. U.S. Navy laser weapons experts say they are scrapping a plan to develop a high-energy laser weapon for manned and unmanned helicopters to perform a variety of military operations at sea.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 14 Aug 2014

  1. Air Force researchers look to Stellar Science for advanced laser weapons simulations

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 29 Oct 2014

  2. General Atomics to develop 150-kilowatt solid-state laser weapon in $39.8 million HELLADS contract from DARPA

    ARLINGTON, Va., 26 June 2011. Laser weapons experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are laying plans to a 150-kilowatt high-energy laser weapon based on a combination of solid-state and chemical laser technology that could be mounted to military ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Sun, 26 Jun 2011

  3. Navy moves closer to deploying high-power laser weapon to defend against swarms of fast attack boats

    U.S. Navy and industry laser weapons experts are moving high-power lasers a step closer to deployment aboard Navy surface warships after completing tests demonstrating the ability of a prototype shipboard laser weapon to track small boats at long ranges under maritime conditions.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Wed, 1 Sep 2010

  4. Navy moves closer to deploying high-power laser weapon to defend against swarms of fast attack boats

    U.S. Navy and industry laser weapons experts are moving high-power lasers a step closer to deployment aboard Navy surface warships after completing tests demonstrating the ability of a prototype shipboard laser weapon to track small boats at long ranges under maritime conditions.

    Magazine Articles

    Magazine Articles

    Wed, 1 Sep 2010

  5. Shipboard prototype tactical laser weapon engages swarms of small, fast attack boats in Navy tests

    EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 31 Aug. 2011. Laser weapons experts from the Boeing Co. Directed Energy Systems segment in Huntsville, Ala., the BAE Systems U.S. U.S. Combat Systems segment in Minneapolis, and the U.S. Navy have tested a shipboard prototype tactical laser weapon based on the Navy's Mk ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 31 Aug 2011

  6. Free-electron laser weapon with 100 kilowatts of power is goal of Navy/Boeing research contract

    ARLINGTON, Va., 8 Sept. 2010. Laser weapons experts at the Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Huntsville, Ala., are developing 100-kilowatt free electron laser weapon technology as a foundation on which to develop a next-generation megawatt class free electron laser weapon for use ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 8 Sep 2010

  7. Raytheon to develop UAV-killing laser weapon small enough to fit on Joint Light Tactical Vehicle

    EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 15 Aug. 2014. Laser weapons experts at the Raytheon Co. will develop a tactical laser weapon mounted on a humvee-like maneuverable combat vehicle to protect moving U.S. Marine Corps task forces from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles, and other weapons that are ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 15 Aug 2014

  8. Navy announces plan to deploy laser weapon aboard amphibious assault ship late this summer

    ARLINGTON, Va., 8 April 2014. U.S. Navy leaders plan to deploy the service's first laser weapon aboard a surface warship later this summer, say officials of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 8 Apr 2014

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