US Navy Demonstrates Drone-Killing Laser

Megalith

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The US Navy showed off its LaWS (Laser Weapons System) in the waters of the Persian Gulf this week, and the branch’s new toy appears to be working as advertised: reporters were treated to the weapon instantly lighting drones up and disabling them, demonstrating the awesome speed and precision of laser technology. While the system costs $40 million, all it needs is electricity to operate, and each shot only costs $1.

"We don't have to lead a target," Hughes explained. "We're doing that engagement at the speed of light so it really is a point and shoot -- we see it, we focus on it, and we can negate that target." In an instant, the drone's wing lit up, heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees, lethally damaging the aircraft and sending it hurtling down to the sea. The strike comes silently and invisibly. "It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don't see the beam, it doesn't make any sound, it's completely silent and it's incredibly effective at what it does," said Hughes.
 

Bandalo

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I'm very curious about the maintenance schedule and how often this system needs overhaul.
 

oROEchimaru

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seems similar to videos i saw on it in the past and I'm all for it... seems cool and less environmentally destructive. and our glorious leader can use it to destroy the rebel scum hiding on alderon
 

gtrguy

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I'm curious, what happens if it misses? And what's the effective range of one of these things?
 

Shmee

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So high upfront costs for lower longer term costs? That is surprisingly sane of the military.
 

Spidey329

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and each shot only costs $1.

This f***in guy ... I'm sure we can work in some extremely overpriced capacitors or something. It's not a defense contract without wasteful spending and high maintenance costs!
 

ricson

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I wouldnt be surprised if they give it some kind of noise just to make sure Private Ryan isnt standing in front of the lens having a smoke when it fires.


It could be worse...What if Ryan's privates were in front of it... Sorry couldn't help but reference an old Pr0n movie! ( Saving Ryan's Privates )
 
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steakman1971

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How long between shots? Didn't the game Total Annihilation have some kind of mass energy weapon? Seems like it used massive amounts of power but wrecked havoc on the opposing forces. Need more metal and energy!
 

EchoWars

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Sorry but I see lasers mentioned and always think of this 80s BBC Horizon programme:

Blocked in the US (and everywhere else except the UK according to the BBC).

Perhaps some Cliff's Notes on what it was about...
 

sirgallium

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They've revealed their hand... now it's simple to counter it. All we need is reflective drones. Rookie mistake on their part.
 

PaulP

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I'm curious, what happens if it misses? And what's the effective range of one of these things?
Just like bullets, it will hit the next thing in it's path, if there is anything. The beam loses power as it encounters dust and such in the air, so the effective range is probably less than 100mi. This is designed as a relatively close-in weapons system.
 

PaulP

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Reflective countermeasures?
Sure, if you can find something that is a 99.999% efficient reflector and isn't too heavy. Otherwise, just making something shiny would only add a few fractions of a second to the time it takes to burn through it, at those power levels.
 

mentok1982

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It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don't see the beam, it doesn't make any sound, it's completely silent and it's incredibly effective at what it does

So if a crewman decided to roast some sea birds for fun, is there a system in place that can prove the weapon was fired?
"Sir I don't know why, but those sea gulls have been spontaneously combusting all day long on this side of the ship."
 

TwistedAegis

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So if a crewman decided to roast some sea birds for fun, is there a system in place that can prove the weapon was fired?
"Sir I don't know why, but those sea gulls have been spontaneously combusting all day long on this side of the ship."

Takes a hell of a lot of power, would imagine it would be easy to log those spikes.
 

PaulP

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Takes a hell of a lot of power, would imagine it would be easy to log those spikes.
Not only that, but the weapon can only be unsafed from the bridge by certain officers. So casual activation of the laser by bored crewmen is not going to happen.
 
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