KABOOM! Navy Gets A Laser Gun, Starts Blowing Things Up

Fanghawk

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KABOOM! Navy Gets A Laser Gun, Starts Blowing Things Up

The American Navy has introduced a laser weapon system that's cheap, reliable, and can be set to stun or kill.

Ladies and gentlemen. For over a century, scientists, military tacticians, and sci-fan fans alike asked a single question: When will wars be fought with <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/lasers?from_search=1>laser guns? <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/138364-China-Drone-Laser-Defense-System>Now we seem to be approaching that reality, especially if information from the American Navy is anything to go on. Over the course of operational demonstrations in the Arabian Gulf, the USS Ponce used a prototype laser weapon system to destroy moving test targets, and literally shoot a flying drone out of the sky. But perhaps the strangest part? The entire system is controlled from a video game styled controller.

"Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations," said chief of naval research, Rear Admiral Matthew L. Klunder. "We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality."

Don't take that lethality comment completely to heart; these lasers can do a lot more than kill. The laser weapon system, called LaWS, has a range of escalation options. While it can be set to destroy, it's also programmed with non-lethal measures like dazzling or disabling targets.

You read that right. Laser guns are real, and they can be set to stun or kill.

But perhaps you're asking why, outside of non-lethal options, we'd want LaWS over traditional armaments? First of all, you have no soul. Second of all, lasers are amazingly cost effective. Your average kinetic missile usually costs millions of dollars to produce, and contains fuel and gunpowder that could harm the crew in an accident. The laser system is safer, since it runs entirely on electricity, and is cheaper to install and fire. For example, it only costs a single dollar to fire a shot from this weapon, which is far cheaper than most bullets.

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"At less than a dollar per shot, there's no question about the value LaWS provides," Klunder continued. "With affordability a serious concern for our defense budgets, this will more effectively manage resources to ensure our Sailors and Marines are never in a fair fight."

What's more, LaWS operated seamlessly with preexisting ship defense systems, and worked perfectly in a variety of adverse weather conditions. That's all incredibly impressive for a technology that hasn't even been deployed in combat yet. Either way, you should certainly expect to see more of this technology in the future.

Source: <a href=http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=84805>America's Navy

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Dark Knifer

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Not exactly pew-pew lasers. More like "Things will explode and you won't know why".

Good going guys.
 

Zhukov

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There's no visible "projectile".

It doesn't make a noise.

I want my money back.
 

Dalisclock

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While this is cool, I have to question the range on that. Yeah, it's cheaper then a missile, but a missile can fly for a hundred miles or more to a target.

Not to mention the need for better/larger power plants for better lasers. Yeah, it's cool, but right now the navy is seriously worried about keeping it's ships and aircraft from breaking, due to budgets being cut at the same time it's being asked to do more.
 

Fanghawk

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Dark Knifer said:
Not exactly pew-pew lasers. More like "Things will explode and you won't know why".

Good going guys.
Zhukov said:
There's no visibly "projectile".

It doesn't make a noise.

I want my money back.
It IS a prototype. Maybe they'll add the feature for LaWS 2.0.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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"Set Lasers on Stun number 1. Engage."

Some Naval Captain is either going to feel very awesome for one moment of his life or will not have a damn clue what he just referenced.
 

Texas Joker 52

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Ah, you know what that smell is? Progress!


God I love me some good science. Now let's see if we can make it into long-term space travel!
 

Zontar

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Imperioratorex Caprae said:
"Set Lasers on Stun number 1. Engage."

Some Naval Captain is either going to feel very awesome for one moment of his life or will not have a damn clue what he just referenced.
Well trek is part of the naval vernacular (in the RCN one of the reasons for a ship being late is "Warp drive offline, reverting to impulse").
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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Zontar said:
Imperioratorex Caprae said:
"Set Lasers on Stun number 1. Engage."

Some Naval Captain is either going to feel very awesome for one moment of his life or will not have a damn clue what he just referenced.
Well trek is part of the naval vernacular (in the RCN one of the reasons for a ship being late is "Warp drive offline, reverting to impulse").
True, but there's got to be something really special about being able to quote Trek and not be semi-fallacious about it. Sure its laser and not "phaser" but damn thats close enough and it has a stun function... c'mon!
 

ccggenius12

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I just want to note the name of the ship on which this cutting edge piece of technology is mounted. Am I mistaken, or is the laser mounted on the deck of what is effectively the "USS Idiot"?
 

Strazdas

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Dalisclock said:
While this is cool, I have to question the range on that. Yeah, it's cheaper then a missile, but a missile can fly for a hundred miles or more to a target.

Not to mention the need for better/larger power plants for better lasers. Yeah, it's cool, but right now the navy is seriously worried about keeping it's ships and aircraft from breaking, due to budgets being cut at the same time it's being asked to do more.
In my opinion its going to be purposed the same as the German static laser guns - defensive purposes. they may not be able to blow up enemy targets 100 kilometers away, however they sure as hell can blow up any incoming missiles thus leaving your ship... afloat.

Fast to aim, 100% precision and cheaper ammunition (especially in nuclear based warships). beats flack artillery any day.
 

Xan Krieger

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ccggenius12 said:
I just want to note the name of the ship on which this cutting edge piece of technology is mounted. Am I mistaken, or is the laser mounted on the deck of what is effectively the "USS Idiot"?
I'm reading it as meaning
"a man given to ostentatious or effeminate display in manners, speech, dress, etc"
"another word for pimp"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ponce
Given the flashy technology I think calling the ship the USS Pimp seems about right
 

ccggenius12

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Xan Krieger said:
I'm reading it as meaning
"a man given to ostentatious or effeminate display in manners, speech, dress, etc"
"another word for pimp"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ponce
Given the flashy technology I think calling the ship the USS Pimp seems about right
I guess I'd just heard it misused a lot. In that case, can I point out the irony in an invisible weapon being mounted on the USS Ostentatious? I feel like the weapon needs to take up roughly 3/4 of the ship, and fire rainbows.
 

Xan Krieger

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ccggenius12 said:
Xan Krieger said:
I'm reading it as meaning
"a man given to ostentatious or effeminate display in manners, speech, dress, etc"
"another word for pimp"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ponce
Given the flashy technology I think calling the ship the USS Pimp seems about right
I guess I'd just heard it misused a lot. In that case, can I point out the irony in an invisible weapon being mounted on the USS Ostentatious? I feel like the weapon needs to take up roughly 3/4 of the ship, and fire rainbows.
I looked at a few dictionary sites and it all said roughly the same meaning. That said there's nothing stopping us from putting a big prism on the front of the laser and killing the enemy in a way as beautiful as it is insane.
 

crimson5pheonix

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Xan Krieger said:
ccggenius12 said:
Xan Krieger said:
I'm reading it as meaning
"a man given to ostentatious or effeminate display in manners, speech, dress, etc"
"another word for pimp"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ponce
Given the flashy technology I think calling the ship the USS Pimp seems about right
I guess I'd just heard it misused a lot. In that case, can I point out the irony in an invisible weapon being mounted on the USS Ostentatious? I feel like the weapon needs to take up roughly 3/4 of the ship, and fire rainbows.
I looked at a few dictionary sites and it all said roughly the same meaning. That said there's nothing stopping us from putting a big prism on the front of the laser and killing the enemy in a way as beautiful as it is insane.
Only if it used the proper music.



EDIT: To keep my science cred up, they're probably not (read: 99% sure) using a white light. Lasers tend to be a narrow or single frequency of light, it wouldn't diffract into a rainbow.
 

TheSYLOH

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Ok the laser is cool and all...
But then there is the revelation that the Navy is controlling it with a souped up xbox controller.
That is what surprised me. Us PC Gamer Master Race people should be up in arms.

Also, I would be impressed if they showed me a video of that thing working in the rain.
You'll be surprised how much military hardware stops working in the rain.