back to article Deal inked in US Navy 'R2-D2' raygun robo-turret plan

One of the most critical questions in the world of seagoing death-ray technology today - that is, who would be selected to develop swivelling "R2-D2" robotic laser blaster gun turrets for US Navy warships - has now been answered. American weaponry megacorp Northrop Grumman, makers of the first electric solid-state "battle …


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  1. Rob


    "OHPs carry four 1-megawatt generators"

    No one told me an Over Head Projector had such a large generator in it, I'm off to the nearest school to nick one and plug it into my house, free leccy!

  2. Rosco

    One day

    One day I'll learn not to drink coffee while reading Lewis's articles. Not this day though, apparently. I'm off to find something to clean coffee off my desk, monitor and clothes.

  3. It wasnt me


    You sound like my neighbour. He has a 6 kw pool heater and when I comment that it must cost a bit to run, he replied that its o.k., he has a generator. Presumably one that doesnt take fule in one end.

    I have taken the bait.

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Out of interest:

    Where does the 400kW of heat go?

    Does the kit still work in rain and fog?

  5. Charles 9

    @Flocke Kroes

    A traditional Phalanx has heat issues of its own (due to the rapid firing of projectile shells)--the Gatling design helps keep the barrels from overheating, but the unit as a whole probably deals with a considerable amount of heat. Now, is it equivalent to the 400kW waste heat from a laser version? Don't know. Jury's still out.

    As for rain and fog, it will probably depend on the characteristics of the laser. One that's focused enough and powerful enough will probably deal with atmospheric water (rain and/or fog) quickly enough (IOW, anything in the beam evaporates) to still be effective.

  6. Daniel 4

    @Flocke Kroes

    Re: Heat

    This is just a guess, mind you, but when you're sitting in the middle of the ocean, it would seam to me that finding a heat sink isn't high among your worries. Now, if they start using these on land, it may be a bit different, but you also have to remember that they will probably be fired in pulses, so you're still probably talking about considerably less than 400KW sustained heat output. Just liquid cool the damn thing and then use a HUGE radiator.

    Flames, because that's what you'll get if the coolant boils off.


  7. Antony Shepherd

    R2D2 my arse

    Cover them in half-domes and have a voice synthesiser shout out "EXTERMINATE" every time they fire!

  8. Andy Miller

    @Charles 9

    "IOW, anything in the beam evaporates"

    God, I hope the Royal Navy doesn't get them, I like the Isle of Wight.

  9. David Cherry 1

    Two rules come to mind

    Rule 43 - If you're leaving scorch marks, you need a bigger gun

    Rule 37 - There is no 'overkill'. There is only 'open fire' and 'I need to reload'

    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates

  10. Joe User
    Thumb Down

    And then reality intrudes...

    When rain, fog, or a dust storm pops up, your laser will be next-to-useless.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Seems good idea

    Electrically powered anti-missile and anti- aircraft laser cannons with no ammunition worries

    Just the job for a couple of electrically powered aircraft carriers being built by a small north european country

  12. Nik Simpson

    Lasers have other advantages vs. Phalanx

    The fire control and targetting stuff for a laser is much simpler and probably faster because:

    1. The laser beam doesn't drop with distance, so no need to correct for that, which makes getting on target in the vertical axis is simpler

    2. It arrives at the target almost instantaneously (i.e. the speed of light vs. a few thousand feet/sec), so the need to account for the target's movement is much reduced, which means that getting on target in the horizontal axis is simpler

    All in all, I would suspect that Gatling guns would be rapidly displaced in most applications if this stuff actually works.

  13. Graham Marsden

    Right on, Commander!

    ... I had a 4MW beam laser on my Cobra Mk III...

  14. Nauip

    why is a title required?

    Let me know when they get them small enough to mount on sharks.

  15. Eugene Goodrich
    Paris Hilton

    more problems to a magazine than just space!

    " ...and wouldn't use up space in the ship's magazines."

    Aside from the presumably astronomical rent in ship's magazines, there's also that problem that ammunition is to some degree or another what I like to call "explody". So lasers have the advantage that keeping them fed doesn't mean storing a steady supply of small bombs in a room on your boat. (Just fuel for the generators.)

    Paris, because she's like a laser in more ways than you might think at first.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Boris the Cockroach

    That would be Scotland if anyone cares which happens to be appart of quite a large European Country called the UK. If they ever get full independance (for all of 5 min until they get injested in to Europe with even less powers) then you can call them some insignificant blip on the map of Europe.

    Lets hope these carriers actually get built and hte RAF and Army realise that without the Navy the UK is screwed if we ever need our armed forces some place else.

    Spoken from Sunny Snowy, hot wet and windy Scotland

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Paradigm shift

    You'd think that these things would cause a bit of a paradigm shift in warfare. Its only a matter of time before you get a practical range of 10K out of these things. Put a decent radar and you'll cover a heck of a lot of airspace. Only problem that I see, is some idiot tripping over your power cord.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Space Saver?

    Actually the 20mm (or 25mm) mag is a pretty small one. And there's still the below decks equipment space for CIWS (a.k.a. Phalanx) that's still needed, and maybe more for below-deck laser hardware compared to the current CIWS gattling gun, which is all above-deck. So, all in all, I don't think there's much space to be saved, if any.

  19. Jan 7


    100kW, does that amount to a Light laser? We could mount five of these then onto an 80 tons Charger and have invented the white elephant. Though the sorry remains of FASA might sue us.

    Still, I´d wait a couple of years and get a medium Las on a Locust.

    anyway: I, for one, Welcome Mr. Grayson "Death" Carlyle.

  20. An-D


    I worked on Phalanx for 2 years on a T42 and I can't recall it ever being referred to as R2D2. My main recollection is of it not being nearly as good as Signaals Goalkeeper (as fitted to HMS Invincible at the time)

  21. ark

    would it help against railguns?

    No? Then please install it, to speed up the development of railguns.

  22. Mr Mark V Thomas

    Re: 100KW

    Didn't you know, by installing a smaller fusion reactor on said Charger, & upgrading it's Internal Structure to Endo-Steel, you can mount a couple of PPC's on said mech...

    Mine's the mech with Variable Speed Pulse (VSP) Small Lasers fitted....

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