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

SinisterDeath

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super_mega_ultra said:
SinisterDeath said:
You know.. the article says it's 'safer' than traditional armaments (true to a point!), but that doesn't mean because it uses 'electricity' it is inherently safe.

Top that off, a ship that uses it, really should have more than just Lasers at its disposal... so its still going to have your old fashion armaments... Specially in the advent of EMP weaponry!
Yeah, because going back to a ship capable of operating without electricity is way better than just protecting the electrical components using a simple Faraday cage... Just imagine the success you'll have using hand cranked line of sight cannons against over the horizon guided anti-ship missiles... and no radar, no sensors capable of seeing during the night, no electronic navigation, what a brilliant plan.
Where did I state that we should return to the dark ages?
Get off on playing the reducto ad-absurdum card much? (Trolling Escapist again?)

The statement I made should have been self evident.
If you have something that only works with electricity, have a backup that doesn't require it, or is capable of using lower levels of electricity should something hamper your ability to generate suitable levels of electricity.

Also;
When talking electricity, and the upgrades required to power more lasers on said ships, Electrical accidents will increase. This should be self-evident.. You need people to add and maintain these systems after-all. (That's not even including the very real possibility, that many sailors will get electrocuted if the ship is struck, instead of going 'boom' if its full of munitions)

And if you look at the statistics, Electricity is already one of the largest killers when it comes to work-place accidents. (And I'd consider working in said ship, as a work-place)

It is a Misnomer to claim this technology is 'safer'.
It simply poses a 'different' kind of risk to these sailors. (Same for Rail-Guns)
 

SinisterDeath

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I don't know if the US navy runs manual overrides on their point defence but there's a good chance that even the old school weapons can't be fired or even moved without computers. To add in to this there's a very good chance that even if you could fire their current ciws by hand the target wouldn't be realistically vulnerable to a weapon aimed and traversed by eyeball and yells.
Well they did it on WW1/2 ships so I assume its 'possible' for there old'school artillery/cannons. But I'm also not a military-phile and know all the stats and under-ground workings of said modern-ships. They might not have been able to do what they do these days, but damn they were capable of hitting a target some 20+ miles away with some resemblence of accuracy. (course, you don't need much accuracy when you're effectively using a shot-gun that peppers a square mile...)
 

Albino Boo

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SinisterDeath said:
albino boo said:
SinisterDeath said:
albino boo said:
SinisterDeath said:
You know.. the article says it's 'safer' than traditional armaments (true to a point!), but that doesn't mean because it uses 'electricity' it is inherently safe.

Top that off, a ship that uses it, really should have more than just Lasers at its disposal... so its still going to have your old fashion armaments... Specially in the advent of EMP weaponry!

Warships are proofed against EMP already. They have been designed to fight in a nuclear environment for 50 years.
Irrelevant. And the 'proofing' against EMP probably has more to do with Navy ships using technology that is over 60 years old, then it is actual EMP proofing. ((They still make use of Vacuum tubes, and circuits the size of your face. The amount of electricity required to fry one of those circuit boards, is measured in Watts or Killowats, not milliwatts like modern computers are.))

From a military/strategic perspective, it is foolish to assume something is invulnerable. Always look at it, as if it could fail. If EMP is one of its few weaknesses, then you have to have a backup plan for when it is disabled. (I'm sure foul weather also plays a roll!) (Course, we also have to remember, that EMP from a Nuke, is going to be different and probably weaker, then weapon designed to focus, and aim an EMP on a military grade target... And I'm really not sure how the human body would cope against something that could take out those kind of circuits!)

So if we work on the premise that Lasers are vulnerable to EMP weapons, the solution is to simply have a backup.
Weapons that aren't vulnerable to EMP weaponry. Aka, firearms/cannons/ect that are generally invulnerable to EMP weaponry.
You are factually incorrect. Nuclear detonations produce EMP pluses, so have to have you air search, surface search, radio communications and fire control radars survive a near miss form a nuclear warhead they have to be proofed against emp. This is done by using faraday cages and turning off antennes. A machine gun is no defence from TU-22m 300 miles away firing 3 mach 4.6 cruise missiles at you
Factually incorrect about navy ships operating 60 year old tech?
I think not.
About Faraday cages. Yea.
And I did mention something capable of taking out said ships, even with 60 old tech & faraday cages (should they fail), might be (and probably) would fry your crew.
Though, I do have to wonder how susceptible Munitions (I'm talking Cannons/Artilery here, not missiles) are to those energy levels.. But remember, Artillery/cannons operate at speeds faster than missiles, and lasers would be a 'questionable' defense against Artillery/cannon fire. (and I would really hate to see the laser, that you can shoot out of earth's atmosphere, around the solar system, and hit a target behind the horizon and still destroy it!)

Still though, converting to 100% laser is still a foolish choice.
Being designed to fight in nuclear environment is not the same as using 60 year technology. Every system on board warships for the last 30 years has been solid state electronics. The last valve systems went in the early 90s. Faraday cages are a plane of equal potential difference they can only fail if the nuclear blast puts a whole in it. If thats the case the ship is sinking anyway and no guns will be of use. Furthermore modern naval guns are automatic and driven by computers in exactly the same way as missiles. They elevated and turned by firing solutions generated by the use of fire control radar. Most naval are entirely unmanned and are only really used for naval gunfire support of amphibious forces.
 

SinisterDeath

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Being designed to fight in nuclear environment is not the same as using 60 year technology. Every system on board warships for the last 30 years has been solid state electronics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_%28electronics%29

They have been around since the 30s. I 'know' that (at least in carriers) the technology running the ship isn't 'modern'. The military is one of the largest consumers of Transistors of the scale we haven't used since the 70s. (or earlier)


Faraday cages are a plane of equal potential difference they can only fail if the nuclear blast puts a whole in it.
Or 'any' hole really. But a 'hole' in the cage itself, may easily be big enough to put a hole in the equipment as well.. Making breaching the -cage- irrelevant. But I guess that's a moot point.
(Also, it's Hole. Unless you were going for the 'whole' of the ship pun.)

If that's the case the ship is sinking anyway and no guns will be of use.
Correct. To a point at least. I could argue it would depend on 'where' it is hit, and 'how' it is hit, but that would just be semantics.

Though it should be noted that AFAIK, there are currently no (non nuclear) targeted EMP weaponry in existence. So we really have 'no idea' how said technology would work, and if it were designed by the military, to be used against military targets with similar capabilities (aka faraday cages). Or it could just be one massive waste of funds and time for anyone to even research it, if faraday cages are in fact 'impervious'.
Still seems silly to put all your eggs in one basket.

Furthermore modern naval guns are automatic and driven by computers in exactly the same way as missiles. They elevated and turned by firing solutions generated by the use of fire control radar. Most naval are entirely unmanned and are only really used for naval gunfire support of amphibious forces.
This is news to me. But again, I'm not a military-phile.
 

Tsaba

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all the Navy needs to do now is have a railgun and all of my sci-fi dreams will be complete...


http://www.wired.com/2014/04/electromagnetic-railgun-launcher/
 

ForumSafari

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SinisterDeath said:
Well they did it on WW1/2 ships so I assume its 'possible' for there old'school artillery/cannons. But I'm also not a military-phile and know all the stats and under-ground workings of said modern-ships. They might not have been able to do what they do these days, but damn they were capable of hitting a target some 20+ miles away with some resemblence of accuracy. (course, you don't need much accuracy when you're effectively using a shot-gun that peppers a square mile...)
That's artillery, artillery is basically a pen and paper calculation that is sped up by gunnery computers. This is point defense, designed to defend against weapons that post-date the computer and which close and detonate at a speed that would test human reactions, much less manual aiming. Speed is very much an issue here, whereas with artillery it's less so.

However, it's worth noting that they used gunnery calculators back then too, they're basically early computers.
 

Spade Lead

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SinisterDeath said:
Where did I state that we should return to the dark ages?
Get off on playing the reducto ad-absurdum card much? (Trolling Escapist again?)

The statement I made should have been self evident.
If you have something that only works with electricity, have a backup that doesn't require it, or is capable of using lower levels of electricity should something hamper your ability to generate suitable levels of electricity.

super_mega_ultra said:
A modern war ship only works with electricity, if it looses electricity it will have close to zero combat value (maybe some sailors can stand with rifles and fire off of the bow at targets withing visible range of the now immobile ship). All aspects of all modern naval combat requires electricity.

Also, lower levels of electricity? This isn't star trek where you "direct more energy to main thrusters", either your ship works or it doesn't. If it's a nuclear powered ship then either your reactor works and you have energy for the laser, or it doesn't and you have more pressing concerns than your laser. If it's a ship running on combustible fuel either it will have generators that can supply enough electricity or you won't put a laser on the ship in the first place. A ship that can't operate to full capacity with both weapon systems and engine and the same time is an inherently faulty ship. Obviously such a ship needs to bring enough fuel to power the laser and everything else, just like a ship with a canon needs to bring enough ammunition for it.

Note that I am not saying that this laser technology necessarily is good, it could be complete crap for all I know, but the idea of keeping mechanical weapons for the explicit reason of being able to use them if the ship is struck by an emp or run out of electricity is completely ludicrous.
Having served onboard a military vessel, I can testify that the absolute worst-case scenario is a fuel fire while underway. My ship had two MDEs (Main Diesel Engines) which drove the propeller shaft via reduction gearing, and gave us energy through a generator uptake shaft that was spun by the reduction gearing. If we lost MDEs, we had an EDG (Emergency Diesel Generator) that would provide power for electronics, firepumps, etc, but could not provide propulsion.

In the event you lost main propulsion aboard a nuclear-powered cruiser (to my knowledge none of the Destroyers or frigates are nuclear powered), they also have a series of EDGs to use to provide power.

The argument that losing main propulsion would cause the weapons to fail is as incorrect as saying that if I turn the radar off you can't navigate into or out of a harbor.
 

Albino Boo

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SinisterDeath said:
Being designed to fight in nuclear environment is not the same as using 60 year technology. Every system on board warships for the last 30 years has been solid state electronics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_%28electronics%29

They have been around since the 30s. I 'know' that (at least in carriers) the technology running the ship isn't 'modern'. The military is one of the largest consumers of Transistors of the scale we haven't used since the 70s. (or earlier)


Faraday cages are a plane of equal potential difference they can only fail if the nuclear blast puts a whole in it.
Or 'any' hole really. But a 'hole' in the cage itself, may easily be big enough to put a hole in the equipment as well.. Making breaching the -cage- irrelevant. But I guess that's a moot point.
(Also, it's Hole. Unless you were going for the 'whole' of the ship pun.)

If that's the case the ship is sinking anyway and no guns will be of use.
Correct. To a point at least. I could argue it would depend on 'where' it is hit, and 'how' it is hit, but that would just be semantics.

Though it should be noted that AFAIK, there are currently no (non nuclear) targeted EMP weaponry in existence. So we really have 'no idea' how said technology would work, and if it were designed by the military, to be used against military targets with similar capabilities (aka faraday cages). Or it could just be one massive waste of funds and time for anyone to even research it, if faraday cages are in fact 'impervious'.
Still seems silly to put all your eggs in one basket.

Furthermore modern naval guns are automatic and driven by computers in exactly the same way as missiles. They elevated and turned by firing solutions generated by the use of fire control radar. Most naval are entirely unmanned and are only really used for naval gunfire support of amphibious forces.
This is news to me. But again, I'm not a military-phile.

Oh for god's sake when you are hole stop digging. You just got it wrong, you claim not be a military-phile then don't post about things you don't know about. I used solid state for reason, the long range HF sets on ships built in the 70s were valve operated. They have either been retrofitted when the change to digital data links came in or the ships went to the scrapyard. The actual electronics are inside the ship so the only way to knock a hole in faraday cage in to knock a hole in the hull first and then through an armoured bulkhead. I really don't want write a half page explaining to you about EMP but save to say they would work on the effect of nuclear emp but with much less energy. All an EMP is electromagnetic energy inducing damaging currents in electronic equipment. What the source of the energy is immaterial to the effect.
 

Mr.Mattress

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Oh great, great. If anything comes at us, we can blink 'em all to death!

Now that the references are out of the way, this is actually insanely awesome! We've finally created laser weapons! I can just imagine that by 2025, everyone will have laser guns instead of rifles or hand guns.

Still, I wish the rest of society advanced along with military tech. Where are my wind-powered hover cars and shiny, tin-foil looking clothes?
 

fix-the-spade

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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"?
Well if the USS Ponce were to visit the UK, she would be the 'USS Man who is homosexual' which is rather appropriate for a ship with fabulous laser accessory. Dance the night away you crazy lump of well oiled manliness you!
 

Twoflowers

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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.
Usually lasers are pretty much monochromatic, so a prism won't do a thing.
 

beastro

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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.
BVR is severely restricted, especially by modern ROEs. Today the most useful anti-ship missiles are dual purpose SAMs that are fast and are useful up to the horizon, 15ish miles.

My questions are this: What is the weapon's effective range and how long must it be focused on a target to destroy it? If it does not share the same range and kill potential as conventional munitions, this has been a colossal waste of time and resources.
Based on the available information on their capability (which is a good half a decade out of date) current ones underdevelopment could quickly cut through a modern ships hull, though the more valuable capability is anti-air and missile protection. Conventional CWIS is crap and often only able to have a chance of destroying a target long after it's in it's terminal run (which means the ship still gets hit with the debris of the destroyed missile).

Yeah, we were talking about if an emp would destroy all electronics (in reality an emp can only destroy things big enough to act as an antenna for the pulse to stick to, but that is another discussion) and how it's not an argument to stay away from new technology such as lasers. I am also well aware that ships are built with redundancies.
It's always cute when people bring up EMP, it just shows how little they actually know about EMP, especially how much military equipment, let alone most civilian stuff, has been hardened to it for half a century.

Good, because the USA needs more tools to invade, and murder with. Go imperialism!
Why thank you! So few recognize the boon to the world that American Hegemony has for the world!
 

beastro

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Areloch said:
albino boo said:
SinisterDeath said:
albino boo said:
SinisterDeath said:
You know.. the article says it's 'safer' than traditional armaments (true to a point!), but that doesn't mean because it uses 'electricity' it is inherently safe.

Top that off, a ship that uses it, really should have more than just Lasers at its disposal... so its still going to have your old fashion armaments... Specially in the advent of EMP weaponry!

Warships are proofed against EMP already. They have been designed to fight in a nuclear environment for 50 years.
Irrelevant. And the 'proofing' against EMP probably has more to do with Navy ships using technology that is over 60 years old, then it is actual EMP proofing. ((They still make use of Vacuum tubes, and circuits the size of your face. The amount of electricity required to fry one of those circuit boards, is measured in Watts or Killowats, not milliwatts like modern computers are.))

From a military/strategic perspective, it is foolish to assume something is invulnerable. Always look at it, as if it could fail. If EMP is one of its few weaknesses, then you have to have a backup plan for when it is disabled. (I'm sure foul weather also plays a roll!) (Course, we also have to remember, that EMP from a Nuke, is going to be different and probably weaker, then weapon designed to focus, and aim an EMP on a military grade target... And I'm really not sure how the human body would cope against something that could take out those kind of circuits!)

So if we work on the premise that Lasers are vulnerable to EMP weapons, the solution is to simply have a backup.
Weapons that aren't vulnerable to EMP weaponry. Aka, firearms/cannons/ect that are generally invulnerable to EMP weaponry.
You are factually incorrect. Nuclear detonations produce EMP pluses, so have to have you air search, surface search, radio communications and fire control radars survive a near miss form a nuclear warhead they have to be proofed against emp. This is done by using faraday cages and turning off antennes. A machine gun is no defence from TU-22m 300 miles away firing 3 mach 4.6 cruise missiles at you
Further, if the EMP is potent enough to overpower the basic standard hardening that the systems go through, then I can guarantee you that the control and warhead computers on missiles, fire control and radar systems on point defense turrets and any other systems that would enable you to keep weapon operations online would succumb as well.

If the EMP is potent enough to cripple your ship in one field, it's going to be potent enough to cripple it everywhere else.
Sigh....

Most nuclear weapons these days are kilotons sized. Old megaton weapons started having EMP ranges around sealevel smaller than the thermal blast from the device itself and were only effective in the upper atmosphere or space, something that was useful in the 50s and 60s but not now when so much relies on, especially military, satellite communication.

No there's and argument for relying less on sats and it's one I agree with. If a big war comes they'll be the first victims, but that's not relevant to this debate.

fix-the-spade said:
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"?
Well if the USS Ponce were to visit the UK, she would be the 'USS Man who is homosexual' which is rather appropriate for a ship with fabulous laser accessory. Dance the night away you crazy lump of well oiled manliness you!
She's named after a town that's named after Ponce del Leon.
 

vallorn

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Thank god a lot of American ships use nuclear reactors so they have plenty of cheap energy to power weapons systems like this.
 

Scorpid

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crimson5pheonix said:
Nifty, now can we get back to funding more useful ventures?
I'd say thats fairly useful. Laser drills... oOOOOoo. But I get the sentiment. I don't like technology whose only practical application is to kill people.
 

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P-89 Scorpion said:
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.

This Laser is being tested to hopefully replace Phalanx (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS) which has a range of less than 4KM and supplement the RIM-116 RAM missile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIM-116_Rolling_Airframe_Missile) which has a range of 9KM. This is a point defence weapon only it's the rail gun that with guided ammunition may be able to replace a number of missiles with a lower per shot cost due to a combination of no need for propellant and explosive.
You're right and excellent point. I wasn't really reading the article and was more focused on the post.
 

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vallorn said:
Thank god a lot of American ships use nuclear reactors so they have plenty of cheap energy to power weapons systems like this.
Carriers are the only surface ships that are nuclear powered, so they'll be set. There are no current plans to put nuclear reactors on anything else(and frankly, they don't have enough nuclear trained personnel to do so regardless).
 

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SinisterDeath said:
You know.. the article says it's 'safer' than traditional armaments (true to a point!), but that doesn't mean because it uses 'electricity' it is inherently safe.

Top that off, a ship that uses it, really should have more than just Lasers at its disposal... so its still going to have your old fashion armaments... Specially in the advent of EMP weaponry!
Well, the problem is, if the Electric grid on a ship goes down because of an EMP, the ship is already dead in the water regardless. The only weapons that will be useful are small arms and mounted .50 cals.