back to article US Army moves rocket-buster raygun from lab to firing range

The US Army says it's time to move battle rayguns out of the lab and onto the firing range: and it is doing so. According to the Space and Missile Defence Command, a prototype electrically powered war-blaster which has shown combat-worthy power levels of 100+ kilowatts is even now being set up on a test range in New Mexico. …


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  1. shay mclachlan

    Mobility solution

    The entire system could be carried by a team of several elephants, but even a great white shark would struggle with it.

    Perhaps some kind of ill-tempered, mutated albino whale might be in order. ®

    Sorted, Gordon Brown will be available soon.

    1. Mr Sceptical
      Thumb Up

      Forever more...

      ...that's how I'm going to picture him!

      Available from your nearest Dr Evil retail outlet this summer...

    2. ck 1

      I have just the thing for you

      You ask for a white whale, and I deliver.

      You can thank me later :)

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Tea for everyone

    The waste heat from the laser is enough to make 4 cups of tea every second. The generator produces about 10 cups per second. The next challenge is to get everyone to sit down and have a nice cup of tea instead of shooting at each other.

  3. Ru

    Lasers vs Phalanx

    Sure, projectile interception *can* be done using currently available defense guns like the phalanx, but its a very complex task indeed compared to painting an incoming projectile or aircraft with a beam of light.

    Should this device do the job, its targetting hardware (of the mechanical pointy type, computerised calculation type and radar tracking type) would conceivably be an order of magnitude simpler. Interception rates should rise significantly.

    That's the major selling point here... not dropping dud shells onto the surroundings is a minor bonus in comparison.

    1. MartinD


      You could use a greek phalanx.

  4. Grant 1


    "Fuzes" you say Grayson? Since when has the humble "s" affronted you?

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Darn those technical terms

      Perhaps you should check the dictionary before commenting. No, no, I'll do it.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    20 percent efficient

    Is not bad for such a big beast.

    This does have a peaceful application (sort of) which would be launching a prototype lightcraft by heating the rear end of an appropriately shaped test vehicle to create a super heated air flow.

    Unlikely to be very big, but it would be a start.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    a milimetre good as a mile

    Wot? Accurate? What if the sights are off by a milimetre? Down comes another 'Jumbo Jet'?

    Shells at least do have a travel limit - lasers can go all the way to the moon. How many satellites will they take out on the way?

    Bizarre, but hey if they modify the mount, think of all the pigeons it could shoot out of the sky in one go?

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Darn physics

      If it weren't for the inverse-square law, you'd have some kind of valid point.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        If it weren't for the fact

        that the inverse square law applies to omnidirectionally radiating bodies, which a laser isn't, you'd have some kind of valid point.

        That's the nice bit about lasers: you're throwing the emitted energy in exactly one direction, and all of it arrives at where you're pointing the thing at (minus some atmospheric scatter).

    2. Emilio Desalvo

      I've recognized you!

      "Bizarre, but hey if they modify the mount, think of all the pigeons it could shoot out of the sky in one go?"

      Anonymous Coward! You are Dick Dastardly!

  7. Mystic Megabyte


    I foresee the enemy firing disco balls at them, what a light show. yay! party time!

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Best weapon ever...

      ... the Ratchet & Clank Discoball

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Satellites & Lasers

    "If it weren't for the inverse-square law, you'd have some kind of valid point."

    I read some time ago that this kind of powerful lasers are indeed a threat for optical satellites, as it could destroy their CCDs. It is not necessary to have the full beam crosssection on the sat's optics to do that. 1/1000 of 100MW is still 100W !

    Lasers have this nice property of very good beam quality, ya know. Ask the pilots who were blinded by cheapo amateur lasers recently !

  9. Emilio Desalvo

    Test range

    'It's now to be moved from Northrop's Californian labs to the White Sands Missile Range, which is also an "approved above-the-horizon high energy laser test range".'

    I will wait until they find a "below-the-horizon high energy laser test range".

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Test Range

    "I will wait until they find a "below-the-horizon high energy laser test range"."

    I think "above-the-horizon high energy laser test range" is americanish for "you can point the laser into the sky in this area".

    Which makes sense if you think what happens if you accidently light up an airliner's cockpit with a 100MW laser. Pretty hard to land a plane if your retina is gone. That would give a new meaning to "blind landing", actually.

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