US admiral praises laser and electromagnetic guns on costs

US admiral praises laser and electromagnetic guns on costs
In this photo released by the Australian National University, U.S. Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert speaks during a lecture at the ANU in Canberra, Australia Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Greenert, who as chief of Naval Operations sets the navy's future strategy, said Tuesday lasers that shoot down drones with precision and electromagnetic cannons that fire more than 100 miles are part of the future of naval warfare, promising to be cheaper to use than conventional weapons. (AP Photo/The Australian National University, Kate Hulm)

Lasers that shoot down drones with precision and electromagnetic cannons that fire more than 100 miles are part of the future of naval warfare, promising to be cheaper to use than conventional weapons, a U.S admiral said on Tuesday.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who as Chief of Naval Operations sets the navy's future strategy, said during a lecture at the Australian National University that the experimental guns were an important departure from gunpowder and inexpensive to fire.

The laser gun, known as a Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, is being tested aboard a warship in the Persian Gulf, he said.

"It's working pretty well," Greenert said. "Lasers, I think, are a thing of the future."

The laser gun cost less than $1 to fire for 10 seconds—long enough to burn out the engine of a slowing moving 50-meter (164-foot) vessel, Greenert said. That compared with a projectile from a warship's conventional cannon that can cost $20,000, he said.

The Electromagnetic Railgun uses magnetic fields created by electrical currents to launch projectiles more than 115 miles, the Office of Naval Research said.

Greenert said the Railgun's range was about the same as a cruise missile that cost around $1 million. The Railgun's projectile cost only $25,000, he said.

The Railgun is scheduled for sea testing next year, the Office of Naval Research said.

The laser gun was first deployed and operated aboard USS Ponce, a floating assault base in the Persian Gulf, in September and November last year, the office said.

The gun is operated by a video game-like controller and could be used against small attack boats and drones, the office said.

Laser weapon technology is being pursued by several countries. Chinese state media reported in November that Chinese engineers had successfully tested a that can shoot down low-flying, slow-moving drones.

The Low Altitude Sentinel system can detect a small aircraft within a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius and shoot it down within five seconds, the report said.

The system could be installed in vehicles and help guard against flying objects during major events in urban areas, the China's Xinhua News Agency said.


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Feb 10, 2015
I don't think they'll ever completely replace conventional weapons, but it certainly does make more sense to use the railgun whenever possible, instead of million dollar missiles.

This is apparently going to allow a net decrease in long-term budget while still having superior capabilities.

KBK
Feb 10, 2015
The utter sickness part, is the 'green, efficient, clean, low cost murder and death'.

The level of psychosis beggars belief.

Feb 10, 2015
The utter sickness part, is the 'green, efficient, clean, low cost murder and death'.

The level of psychosis beggars belief.
Scientific investigations bring knowledge and engineering is applied knowledge. It is neither right or wrong nor left or right, it is just more efficient technologies.

Feb 10, 2015
The utter sickness part, is the 'green, efficient, clean, low cost murder and death'.

The level of psychosis beggars belief.

The best defense is a strong offense.

Precise, efficient weapons can conduct pinpoint strikes on a tank or artillery shelling a civilian population.

How does KBK propose to stop the bad guys from murdering civilians?

Feb 10, 2015
The utter sickness part, is the 'green, efficient, clean, low cost murder and death'.

The level of psychosis beggars belief.


Actually this is the highest mark of sanity I've seen coming from DoD in decades.

Feb 10, 2015
I don't quite understand why this is made public.

Feb 10, 2015
I don't quite understand why this is made public.


Probably has to do with some treaty. Maybe there's an international law requiring it.

The U.S. seems to pretty much declare and describe almost everything we make at some point.

Feb 10, 2015
I don't quite understand why this is made public.
Power of deterrence

Feb 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Feb 10, 2015
A rail gun is not likely much more energetic than a missile or traditional round, but it is much safer for the crew to minimize the quantity of explosives.

Feb 10, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Feb 10, 2015
Will we again hear the old command of, 'Make Smoke' ??

And a return to the 'Fog of War' ??

Feb 11, 2015
I thought the problem with the railguns was a lack of power? Or did they solve that?

Feb 14, 2015
I thought the problem with the railguns was a lack of power? Or did they solve that?


One kilogram projectile at say 5 km/s has an kinetic energy of 25MJ. That's a lot but if your rate of fire is say one shot per 10 minutes you'd need a power of 41kW, which does not sound much for a military boat.

I doubt the main problem with railguns is power consumption. I've heard it's more a question of the wear of the rails.

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