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Boeing successfully tests 25KW laser weapon June 6, 2008

Posted by Al in : future,weapons , trackback

Ever since the turn of the last century people were talking of ray guns that could zap a thing or a person with instantaneous accuracy. When lasers were first invented it was assumed that laser guns would only be a matter of years away from full scale deployment. Ronald Regan was keen on the technology and was convinced that his Star Wars plans would be realised in his presidency, or soon after. Almost 50 years after the laser’s first demonstration this still hasn’t happened.

Things might be about to change as Boeing have successfully repeatedly fired their new laser for long enough to prove it’s capabilities as a genuine weapon. What’s more, it can scale up to 100KW, which is enough power to make the military sit up and take notice. I would imagine that it won’t be too long before the first military applications of this laser begin testing. What gets me though, is that Boeing are claiming that being powered by electricity makes the lasers highly mobile and supportable on the battlefield. I would imagine this to be true only if you have some very long extension leads or a highly mobile 100+KW generator. Given that there is always some loss as power is transmitted, I’d be interested in seeing how big a generator would be required for the laser to work effectively. More worrying is that having electrically powered mega-weapons like these would encourage the use of battlefield nukes – as the electromagnetic pulse these would give out should effectively disable something that is 100% reliant on an electrical supply.

Still the little or no collateral damage bit should be good – providing American operators can avoid targeting friendly “targets” in future.


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