US Navy readies 'laser attack' weapon in 2014

Apr 09, 2013
A MH53E helicopter takes off from the USS Ponce to conduct a mine clearance exercise in the Gulf on September 24, 2012. The US Navy said it is preparing to roll out a sea-based laser weapon capable of disabling small enemy vessels and shooting down surveillance drones.

The US Navy said it is preparing to roll out a sea-based laser weapon capable of disabling small enemy vessels and shooting down surveillance drones.

The system will be deployed in 2014, two years ahead of schedule, aboard the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport ship retrofitted as a waterborne staging base, the said Monday.

Chief of Naval Research Admiral Matthew Klunder said the cost of one blast of "directed energy" could be less than $1.

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Laser Weapon System (LaWS)

"Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability," he said in a US Navy statement.

The (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command successfully tested high-energy lasers against a ship and a remotely piloted drone.

"The future is here," ONR official Peter Morrision said.

"The solid-state laser is a big step forward to revolutionizing modern warfare with directed energy, just as gunpowder did in the era of knives and swords."

The laser runs on electricity, so the weapon "can be fired as long as there is power," and is a lot safer than carrying explosives aboard ships.

The New York Times, which said the USS Ponce would deploy to the Gulf, noted the Pentagon had a "long history of grossly inflating" claims for experimental weapons.

Navy officials had acknowledged that the prototype laser was not yet strong enough to bring down a jet fighter or a missile, although those remained the long-term targets, The Times reported.

A March 14 report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Center said the new weapon was a potential game-changer in naval warfare.

"Compared to existing ship self-defense systems, such as missiles and guns, lasers could provide Navy surface ships with a more cost effective means of countering certain surface, air, and targets," the report read.

Equipping Navy ships with lasers "could lead to changes in naval tactics, ship design and procurement plans for ship-based weapons, bringing about a technological shift for the Navy - a 'game changer' - comparable to the advent of shipboard missiles in the 1950s," it added.

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Skepticus
3.4 / 5 (10) Apr 09, 2013
Apart from line of sight limit, I think lasers-based DE weapons are still hampered by fog, clouds and rain storms. Vital structures of target could be protected by reflecting or redirecting measures, such as mirroring surfaces, ablative shielding, meta-materials cloaks, plasma-based shields/ deflectors. That would mean lots of power at a wide range of frequencies, infra-red, T-rays, X-rays, gamma rays, etc, to burn through these possible defenses is needed.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
Apart from line of sight limit, I think lasers-based DE weapons are still hampered by fog, clouds and rain storms.

And probably rather easy to defend against using chaff or smoke-screens incorporating metallic particles.

For missiles the defense would be a reflective layer. Since the frequency of the laser is fixed (and known) finding a suitable material that can be applied cheaply to any surface should be trivial.

If all else fails just have missiles spin on their axis (this is how x-ray cathodes in CT-scanners are kept from melting due to the bombardmenet of a high intensity electron beam)
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (10) Apr 09, 2013
Fortunately for the users of the C02 lasers, there does happen to be a "window" in atmospheric absorption, between 10 and 13 microns, the laser's 10.6 microns fitting in very nicely. The 10.6 micron laser experiences a relatively low amount of scattering, under normal conditions and the effect of water vapour is diminishing with altitude.

Why do you think it is 10um CO2?
the defense would be a reflective layer.

Which would reflect radar quite nicely.

Moebius
3 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2013
This laser isn't very powerful. It had to stay on target a few seconds to light it up and you can bet that isn't a metal skinned drone or going very fast. It would be very effective against pirates though.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2013
the defense would be a reflective layer.

Which would reflect radar quite nicely.

Why would you think that? CO2 lasers work in the 10 mikrometer range. Military radar works in the 2cm to (many) meter range.

Anywho: what good is seeing a missile if you can't shoot it down?
It's not like current missiles need to be (or are) stealthed to be effective.
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (5) Apr 09, 2013
I thought they were farther along with this project. After all the THEL had been successfully demonstrated years ago.

Don't let the concept of using the laser deceive you. They would still have conventional missles and bullet based defenses on the ships, they would just have a reduced roll as the lasers would be the first line of defense option. You'd just have fewer bullets and missles on each ship, but obviously not "none".
Pkunk_
1.5 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2013
They'd probably have racks upon racks of batteries and capacitors though to make up for the weight and space savings of fewer bullets and missiles.
This sounds cool , but i guess version 3.0 is when it'll get really interesting.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (9) Apr 09, 2013
Military radar works in the 2cm to (many) meter range.

A material that reflects short wavelength EM radiation (IR lasers) would reflect long wavelength EM radiation (radar).
VendicarE
1 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2013
Even easier. Just use some rotation or polish the surface before launching. A thin chrome coating and the laser is useless.

"And probably rather easy to defend against using chaff or smoke-screens incorporating metallic particles." - Antilias
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Apr 09, 2013
Here RyggTard confuses microwaves with Infrared radiation.

"Which would reflect radar quite nicely." - RyggTard

Sorry Tardieboy, but there is a 3 to 4 order magnitude difference in the wavelengths of these Em waves.

Since you know nothing about science, and have shown yourself incapable and unwilling to learn, one wonders why you come here.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Apr 09, 2013
RyggTard is blissfully ignorant of the fact that electromagnetic waves propagate as waves and as a result ignore objects that are substantially smaller than their wavelength.

This is the reason why sunsets are Red and Orange.

"A material that reflects short wavelength EM radiation (IR lasers) would reflect long wavelength EM radiation (radar)" - RyggTard

In his Libertarian/Randite world of make believe, everything he believes to be true must be true.

It is a pre-requisite for for accepting the infinite nonsense that is the anti-welfare ideology of welfare queen Ayn Rand.

ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 09, 2013
Radar chaff that reflects radar is made of metal. Typically cut to half the wavelength of the radar to jam.
An airplane or missile with a highly polished metal surface would reflect radar quite well.
The Navy has a radar gun, the Phalanx, which fires 30mm rounds. Ships also have several radar guided missiles and the aircraft have radar guided air to air missiles.
Of course a mirror can be damaged by lasers, too.
http://www.newpor...nfo.aspx
NotAsleep
not rated yet Apr 09, 2013
We can't ignore the possibility that the biggest benefit of adding this to our arsenal is in making the enemies of the US increase the weight and/or complexity of their aircraft by adding defensive measures to lasers. Pkunk is right... perhaps version 3.0 will be a more serious weapon. The current version is likely just setting up the infrastructure for that
VendicarE
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2013

"Radar chaff that reflects radar is made of metal." - RyggTard

And metal has magical MoJo that causes it to reflect all Em radiation apparently.

Rocks reflect water waves. But put one on the surface of a pond that is smaller than the wavelength of the waves in the pond and the waves in the pond will hardly notice the rock.

RyggTard provides a fine example of why Conservative Retards do such a poor job of home schooling their children.

ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
Another use for lasers will be to blind UAVs or kill mosquitoes.
If COTS audio sensors can track a mosquito, why not an annoying overhead drone spying on you?
http://www.wired....es-dead/
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (6) Apr 09, 2013
Even easier. Just use some rotation or polish the surface before launching. A thin chrome coating and the laser is useless.

"And probably rather easy to defend against using chaff or smoke-screens incorporating metallic particles." - Antilias


If chrome coating is all that's required to make a stealth missile, then all world military units would already be doing that, and AEGIS systems would be useless.

Clearly, you must be wrong, or else you're claiming that all the military engineers in the world have over-looked how to make a pathetically low tech missile defeat an AEGIS system...
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 09, 2013
"Decorative chrome plating is sometimes called nickel-chrome plating because it always involves electroplating nickel onto the object before plating the chrome (it sometimes also involves electroplating copper onto the object before the nickel, too). The nickel plating provides the smoothness, much of the corrosion resistance, and most of the reflectivity. The chrome plating is exceptionally thin, measured in millionths of an inch rather than in thousandths."
http://www.rimsdi...LES.html
Most missiles and aircraft are made of Al alloy. For a laser defense, according to some here, such surfaces should be polished and electroplated with Ag or Au, the best IR reflectors. They are the best, but not perfect. Ag and Au are also very good conductors of heat. The small percentage (of a large amount of energy) that is absorbed is conducted into the target.
Lurker2358
2 / 5 (4) Apr 10, 2013
Right, ideally.

But realistically no military in the world would be able to spend THAT much money on making their missiles, at least not missiles they intend to have in wide use.

Besides, it would be a beacon on radar, and just get shot down by a conventional missile defense system.

So the moral of the story is you can't beat both the laser and the radar. You're actually better off trying to beat the radar in most scenarios, because if you beat the radar you beat the laser anyway, since you can't shoot at what you can't see. Well, you can shoot at it, you just won't have good odds of hitting it.

Now unfortunately for the missile users, and I don't know if they have it or not but I'm sure they do, the ships most likely have IR sensors, which means the stealth missile will be detected on IR anyway, by the exhaust, and will still get shot down by the laser, which can just aim a few feet ahead of the hot spot in the exhaust.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Apr 10, 2013
A material that reflects short wavelength EM radiation (IR lasers) would reflect long wavelength EM radiation (radar).

Again: Why would you think that?
Ever seen those pics where people use handheld cameras to see through bikinis? It works because some cloth is transparent to long wavelengths (in this case IR) and not to short wavelengths (visible light) - and the CCD chips in cameras also work in the IR range.

A thin chrome coating and the laser is useless.

Not for CO2 lasers. You need something that is IR reflective - not reflective in the visible spectrum. (there are some cheap glas variants that would do the trick).

The Navy has a radar gun, the Phalanx, which fires 30mm rounds.

I'm guessing they want to protect more than their own ship with this system (or protect aginst high yield warheads like small nukes)
Phalanx systems don't work for either scenario. They have too small a range.
anti-geoengineering
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 14, 2013
The elites/warpigs won't make near as much money with these weapons,and,not enough destruction.Sad but true.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (4) Apr 14, 2013
The elites/warpigs won't make near as much money with these weapons,and,not enough destruction.Sad but true.


They are trying to minimize risk to their own units, while maximizing effectiveness in countering the enemy units.

A laser weapon is also much less likely to have collateral damage, so it would seem that pacifist left would appreciate the effort which has gone into minimizing innocent casualties.

If the U.S. didn't have a military, we'd get invaded by Iran or N. Korea.

They don't hate us because of our military.

Iran hates the U.S. because we aren't muslims, and secondly because the U.S. supports Israels right to exist as a nation and Jews right to exist as people.

N. Korea hates the U.S. because of ideological radicalism, and leftist totalitarianism.

If you lived in N. Korea you would still hate the U.S. military, you'd just do so because you'd be a brainwashed puppet of the state.

It is the U.S. military which protects you from being a brainwashed puppet.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 14, 2013
If the U.S. didn't have a military, we'd get invaded by Iran or N. Korea.

Hello? Reality check?
Do you know how many people live in the likes of NK or Iran?
Do you know that it takes at least a smidgeon of a navy to invade someone?
Thought not.

The US is not (and never has been) under the threat of invasion. Not even by such military powerhouses as Russia - because no country in the world has the navy to pull something like that off. (And seriously: why would anyone want to. There's nothing in the US worth taking. There are no resources there that aren't available elswhere more easily)

Iran hates the U.S. because we aren't muslims

They (that is only the people who need to keep their grip on power, the common people don't care about the US one way or another) use the US as a bogey-man. And the US plays along (because the people in power in the US need Iran and NK as a bogey-man, too, to stay in power)

antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Apr 14, 2013

It is the U.S. military which protects you from being a brainwashed puppet.

Reading your post they aren't doing a good job of it. If ever I read a post of a brainwashed puppet that was it.

You really should try to travel a bit. Broaden your horizon. Get to know the people before you judge them. You sound a like a total righteous fashistoid type.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (6) Apr 14, 2013
The US is not (and never has been) under the threat of invasion.

Really?
" Unrestricted submarine warfare and the inevitable sinking of US civilian ships would almost certainly provoke America into declaring war on Germany. "
"Zimmermann's idea was to propose an alliance with Mexico, and persuade the president of Mexico to invade America and reclaim territories such as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Germany would support Mexico in its battle with their common enemy, aiding it financially and militarily.
Furthermore, Zimmermann wanted the Mexican president to act as a mediator and persuade Japan that it too should attack America. This way, Germany would pose a threat to America's east coast, Japan would attack from the west, while Mexico invaded from the south. "
http://kakopa.com/geo/zman.htm
Anyone been on the southern US border lately? The US is being invaded now.