back to article Hefty 'battle strength' electro-laser breaks 100kW barrier

US arms globocorp Northrop Grumman have claimed a significant raygun first - producing a 100+ kilowatt laser beam using electrically powered equipment. Blaster rays of this intensity formerly required the use of troublesome, toxic chemical fuels producing equally annoying wastes. The Northrop Grumman 100kW electric laser unit …


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  1. Anonymous Bastard
    Thumb Up

    And the covered it with mirrors.

    More hi-tech, space-age weaponry should be either mirrored or chromed for that futuristic look. ESPECIALLY if it involves lasers.

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  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "Jurassic Park style"

    Release the Velociraptors!

  4. Mike

    "ruggedising" the kit for field use

    I plain language that means they had to get all the bits off the lab bench and put it in a box, and then make it work like it did in the perfect conditions of the lab.

    I picture a mad scientist type waving his hands at the suited guys in dark glasses saying something like "yes, yes, take it away, the plans are over there, just leave me alone", while he wrings his hands and mutters "i have something much better in mind now that I know this works"

    Mines the one with the sleeves that fasten in the back..

  5. nicolas
    Paris Hilton


    This might be a silly question, but what about mirrors ?

    can't you simply point it towards the emitter ?

    How sturdy would it have to be, compared to any non reflexive material ?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Sell it to the Empire

    I think it will fit well in a Death Star.

  7. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Lockheed better get busy

    beefing up their SuperSoldier Exoskeleton thingy. 1.5 tonnes + power is gonna need big legs to make mobile.

    Luckily that big shiny box doesn't yet look like it can fit in a T-800 frame...

  8. Henry Cobb
    Thumb Down

    No battle tanks

    Unless you're going to mount it in a Mark V Ogre, this is too big, too heavy, too hot and too energy hungry for a mobile land platform.

    Instead mount it in the Navy's DD(X) and trade the effective long range firepower of those big guns for a flashlight that will slowly annoy the enemy to death.

  9. E

    Cetacean negation

    No problem, just strap it onto a blue whale.

  10. Pete Silver badge


    While this silver elephant is too big, cumbersome and (as mentioned) probably too fragile to hitch up to your humvee and bump down a dirt track, it *would* be practical to put something this big on a warship. All you need then is a seabourne adversary who's willing to accommodate your latest piece of techno-porn by sending over a number, not more than the number of lasers your boat has, of missiles, bombs, planes etc. simultaneously.

    Plus, of course, if they send over a submarine you're still screwed.

  11. John Smith Gold badge

    Promised by the end of last year

    Demonstrated end of this Feb.

    In experimental military weapons project land isn't that virtually on schedule.

  12. ian


    Portable. The concept is relative, as anyone who carried a "portable PC" in the 1980's knows. In any case, 1.5 tonnes is far better than the 20-tonne COIL chemo-beamer. If there is a linear relationship between weight and power, an electrical 1MW laser should weigh about 15 tonnes. That should adequate to toast friendly forces in short order.

  13. Gabriel Vistica

    "Such equipment will never do for head-mounted shark use."

    DARN IT!!

    ... I mean ...


  14. Anonymous Coward


    So... when will they produce a solar/wind powered one?

    Seriously, the only places we're thinking of fighting with at the moment are fairly sunny places, so solar power would be ideal!!

  15. Andy Barber

    I for one...

    ... will NOT be praising our laser wielding War-Lords!

  16. Laurent_Z

    okay Lewis, you're the biggest geek !

    Sharks with head mounted lasers are not enough for you, it has to be sharks with 100KW, Battle tank wrecking lasers !

    Friggin'upgrade freek ! 8)

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Now all we need...

    Is some sort of shark capable of generating 500kW. Perhaps some sort of shark/eel hybrid will do the trick?

  18. Bad Beaver

    I can see the ad..

    You'll kill like you've never killed before. Northrop. Beaming with pride.

    Just think about the possibilities! Forget mortar protection, you can FRY whatever is in range, cut through hordes of humans, slice through armour like butter... tanks, battleships... it's a big bad can opener of pure light. Too bad that there is next to nobody left with significant numbers of actual tanks and battleships to use this against. So mortars it ill be.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    More portable than you think.

    The unit is more portable than you think.

    500KW is easy to produce with roughly a 700hp gas turbine.. about 2 feet long, 1.5 feet diameter (0.6m x 0.3m). The generator portion is going to be the heavy portion, probably 3 feet long by 2 foot depending upon phase/voltage req as well as req on frequency stability. Can try air core instead of iron for weight and size savings.. but some loss in efficiency.

    1.5tons, 3000 lbs or 1364kg is not too hard either. Only problem I see is potentially the size(footprint), aiming mechanism and how fast the power needs to ramp up when firing.

    There are several helicopters that can carry 3000lbs/1364kg... not to mention planes. Much smaller footprint than a Boeing 747..

    BTW - blackhawk UH-60As have empty weight 4819kg, max takeoff at 9185kg.. Usable combat lift is about 3000kg+/- or 6,600lbs.+/-

    --- anonymous because I see black helicopters..

  20. Seán

    Shiney Shiney

    Ohh it's so pretty. Wouldn't it be cheaper to bomb the guys shooting at you with bags of cash. How long is someone going to stay in a war zone with $50,000 in their back pocket.

  21. AngrySup

    So what's 1.5 tonns?

    Keep in mind that today's M1 battle tanks weigh in at about 62 tons. And they go reallly fast (best off-road vehicle that I know). Now the kit (generator, etc) could be mounted in a supplementary vehicle, but it's kind of like an artillery or even a machine gun crew (some coordination required).

    Not a flame, but simply the fires of war.

  22. stirfry
    Black Helicopters

    nice chrome finish...

    ... But me thinks a death ray box should be matte black.

  23. Oliver Smith

    @Lego laser tech

    As you stack the amplifiers you eventually get to the point that the beam will break the amplifying medium due to its intensity (I have seen cracked crystals, not a cheap thing to do). So you need a larger beam, which makes building the amplifiers more difficult. You also get similar problems if your beam isn't good quality as you get hot spots which can break the amplifier.

    There is the same problem with the optics, but that is easier as you don't need to make the electrical connections to them.

  24. Filippo Silver badge


    That's the question I've had for a while - what if the enemy covers the surface of their rockets in mirrors?

  25. Richard

    So not too long then....

    Before they compact it enough to be a laser sword :-)

    Mines the black cloak with hood

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Early Borg cube

    I picture this floating in space, emitting pain.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    Surely this would be good for a warship? You could put several off them on a ship, and power them from a nuclear reactor? Dunno what you would use it for once you had it on there though, perhaps a spot of 21st Century Dynamite fishing? Or burning cooking greenpeace protesters as if they were ants.

  28. Anonymous Scotsman

    Lasers: For a brigher tommorow <ducks>


    one reason come to mind for the mirror issue:

    sand blasted mirrors, if they arent fortified (and they would be) then they'd last all of one night in arab-ia. if they *are* fortified, then the coverings would have to be replaced ridiculously regularly, and all you'd need is one lucky shot to waste the whole array. Non calibrated thermal lasers is not something you want in an army base.

    @ Lockheed

    I think we're looking more in the territory of Shadowcats :D

  29. Michael


    Just don't let the neds get hold of one!!

    Mine's the jjd puffer jacket, with trackies and baseball cap.

  30. Astarte


    I expect they'll mount this beasty on three articulated legs and set it walking around the countryside blasting everying it sees. That would make a good story. How about 'The Punch-up of the Planets' for a title or 'War of the Wor. . .' No hang on, that's already been done.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laser defence turrets for nuclear power plants?

    Why not? After all, they can afford the power, AND you can zap all those pesky microlites buzzing around.

  32. Alistair

    Phased plasma rifle in the 40 Watt range

    As any fule kno, lasers are not the weapon of choice for our future exoskeleton-enabled death-dispensing overlords. What they need are plasma beams, disruptor arrays or even photon torpedoes.

    Rest assured my fellow meatsack underlings, we are safe for the time being.

  33. Secretgeek

    Is it me....

    ...or does look a bit like an morbidly obese Cylon?

    Yes alright, I'm going.

  34. Ken Baker


    In case of accident strike laser cutoff switch with remaining hand.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    re. nice chrome finish...

    Obviously the chrome plated version is for the "leisure pharmaceuticals" trade; also available in Battleship Grey, Air Force Blue and Khaki.

  36. Charlie van Becelaere

    I for one

    welcome our Bolo-driving overlords.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    who cares about ICBMs or sharks

    I just want one powerful enough to take care of the speed cameras..... la la la la la

  38. Luther Blissett

    May I be the first

    To welcome putting it in geostationary orbit with some nice big solar panels.

    Global warming and peaky oil problems solved. Lots of lovely leccy for desalination plants needed to feed the plants to feed the animals to feed the world. And also bankers and other crims could be dealt with with no mess by pushing them into the beam. Almost Utopia.

    I can hardly wait.

  39. A J Stiles

    Someone can't do maths

    1.5 tonnes is equal to 1500 kg., or about 3307 lb. That's just shy of 1.5 tons, which is probably why "tonne" is used as an alias for a megagram: because 2205 lb. (= 1000 kg.) is close enough to 2240 lb. (= 1 ton) that it doesn't make much difference -- and anyone who's still weighing stuff in pounds doesn't care about accuracy anyway.

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