No "frickin laser" today? The Register is getting serious.
US Navy boffins last week carried out their first test of a raygun mounted on a warship, using the beam to blast a small rigid-inflatable boat and set its engines on fire. The boat-blaster trial comes as part of the Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD) programme run by the US Office of Naval Research (ONR). It took place near …
The Royal Navy is beginning trials of a top secret kinetic energy weapon
It will fire a spherical Ballistic Action Launch Load into the enemy vessel at super-clarkson speed. They should be able to deal with targets this size with a single shot
The kinetic energy generation system is smaller than the laser and uses a loading and targeting system that is completely immune to computer failures and ECM.
It is believed that because of the lower electrical power demands even the new class of small warships will be able to carry hundreds of individual launchers .
To reduce radar cross-section, susceptibility to magnetic mines and reliance on fueling, a series of new natural organic composite hulled warships with a wind power system is envisioned to carry the new weapons.
"Doesn't the launcher rails destroy themselves after about 3 shots?"
"It is believed that because of the lower electrical power demands even the new class of small warships will be able to carry hundreds of individual launchers "
rather than changing the magazine like with conventional weapons, they will just change the gun!
And because of the reduced spatial requirement for the new weapons, naval personnel will have the added advantage of not having to share sleeping berths (hot bunking). They will get their own personal space sleeping module made of non-synthetic, washable material that can be stowed away to create a pleasant, more spacious working environment when not in use.
The launchers are also ideally sized for occasional use as a table base for refreshments and board games and, due to their weight and overall sturdiness, they are also ideal as a support whilst taking a cabin-boy up the arse.
Collateral deaths are, sadly, an inevitable consequence of war. We hear more about them these days but they've always happened. Also, the bangs tend to be bigger these days?
Actually, if the engine of a go-fast boat can be blown up rather than the entire boat and contents itself it may well result in a diminished loss of life?? That being said our Transoceanic allies sometimes have trouble hitting barn doors with banjos.....
Let's see here... that would mean:
No armed aircraft, submarines, or ships.
No long-range weapons (including tanks, mortars, missiles, railguns, lasers, etc.).
No mines, grenades, or other explosives.
No anti-vehicle weapons (land, sea, or air).
No automated defenses.
In other words, anyone complying with that rule would be completely screwed. There would be no way to protect against someone attacking you with a missile, and no way to retaliate without crossing their (presumably heavily mined) borders, or parachuting inside (while dodging anti-aircraft fire, of course). Meanwhile, since they have ignored the Geneva Convention, they get to bombard you with missiles, drop bombs from above with impunity, and mine, shell, or otherwise damage from afar until they are the only ones left.
Oh, and one more thing - no RC airplanes. The hobbyists will hate you.
Are you complaining that people may fire these weapons at robots and kill them? Indeed, it is cruel to our robot slaves that we put them in these situations.
Or are you referring to the poor pigeons in torpedoes? I don't think they put them in any more, I think they use the aforementioned robots instead.
If you're complaining about weapons that kill then if it were an ideal world I would agree with you -- but weapons like this are no worse than any other and weapons have always been designed to kill or, more desirably*, maim the enemy whether they want you to or not. In most cases, in fact, many of the combatants may not really want to be there at all. Perhaps we should ban ignorant, warmongering politicians rather than weapons like this? Oops, we did, but it didn't work.
*From the perspective of someone who wants to win and end a war, rather than an immediate moral perspective of course.
Our Client, Archimedes of Syracuse, wishes us to inform you that he holds relevant IP patents pertaining to; "The use of directed energy weapons to burn enemy ships".
We would ask that you refrain from further development and / or use of your infringing system until such time as mutually agreeable licensing terms are agreed.
Yours; Nickitt, Troll and Gouge, IP attorneys at law.
Pursuant to your notice of 11-April-2011 14:39 GMT, our staff researchers have looked into your claim of prior IP patents. We find no references in the current databases, although we confess it is possible this is likely a result of the sacking of the Library at Alexandria when many legal records were lost. Please provide a notarized copy of the originally issued patent so we may further examine your claim. If a copy of the original notice is not available, please provide a copy of the original submission along with the working model which would have been required at the time the patent was filed,
Yours truly, Bargle and Snarck, attorneys, DARPA Research Annex, US Navy, USA
I somehow doubt these lasers will used to start fires on pirate boats - the dwell time to ignite a flame retardant plastic housing is significant. However, the time required to permanently blind a pirate with a laser like that is probably measured in milliseconds. Blinding aside, a 15kW laser could probaly cause excruciating burns nearly instantly. Now, I ask you, which is the military more likely to target; the motor - or the meat?
Years back We had a 4 watt solid state 1550nm laser in the lab that would shut off randomly and we would put our hand in front of the aperature to test for emission. If you kept your hand moving it would feel warm but if you held it still for too long... A burning pain would develop faster than your brain could move your hand out of the way. This laser power and wavelength did not cause tissue damage though, just hurt like hell.
I believe lasers intended to blind are one weapon class that is outlawed. Not sure where/in what agreements, but probably in the same vein as landmines, ABMs and nukes in space. However, I also believe that this agreement has in fact been pretty widely respected (landmines are still deemed OK by the US and China).
I would say let sleeping dogs lie. The military gain from implementing blinding lasers would not be that great, compared to the human suffering and breakdown of trust ensuing.
Hey, wait before you reach for the tax payer provided pork-o-bank cheque book to buy your new fleet. Don't forget to check beneath the waves for those pesky u-boats. Lasers don't work any where nearly as well through water. Your hypersonic slugs won't make it much further either....
We use submarines to defend high-value 'targets.*' All we need now is to build a fleet of highly capable hunter-killer boats... Oh, wait. there they are, sitting in the harbor, ready to go!
*To a submariner, there are two kinds of naval vessels - other submarines, and 'Targets.'
The pirate about town of tomorrow who wants to be noticed but not overdone can't fail to impress in this outfit inspired by a Christmas turkey. He's modelling a fashionable ensemble of Bacofoil pants and hoodie charmingly offset by these risque welding goggles. Trust me it'll be 'hello sailor' on the yardarm tonight.
Having just watched the excellent http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/6995033/mongo-db-is-web-scale linked from Stob's latest outpouring (also excellent), I must say I find this scalability thing most disturbing coming from a military type person talking about weapons systems.
Mind you this was back in the early 80's but the M1 has had a stabilizing system for the main gun and coax M240 (7.62 Belgian-made machine gun) that works very very well. Shoots better on the move than stationary in fact. Very cool watching from the loader's position - turret moving and main gun moving up/ down gracefully and from the gunner's position, if you lase something for range, the computer keeps it within a meter or so of the target while you're reloading or moving around. So I can imagine the system they have now on a bigass Navy ship wouldn't have an issue with targeting.
Thinking about this, either I'm old or I've been way too busy.
Abrams is, of course, a marvel of accuracy and tracking, but naval engagement is rather more dynamicaly active, and yet that laster never strayed more than a centimeter from aim point despite all the squirelly motion. Not even the vaunted Abrams has that level of tracking (nor, to be honest, do they need it).
Actually, that shouldn't be too difficult - a hypersonic missile flying at you will stay visually pretty much at the same spot (relative to horizon). All you need is to compensate for your own ship's motion. With counter-missiles or guns the trouble is the response time of your weapon and slow speed of the projectiles, which requires large deflection and reduces the window within which you are able to take action.
When your projectile are photons moving at light speed you don't need any deflection and you can start actually hitting the target as soon as you can bring your weapon to bear on it.
This video was a demonstration of a very low-power laser to test the feasibility of integrating such weapons into the ship's systems. They're talking about deployment of 100kW-plus lasers. At that sort of power, your super-shiny mirror surface would melt in less time than it takes to read this sentence.
The Chinese are supposedly creating hypersonic conventional semi-ballistic land-ship missiles (Dong Feng 21D) which are intended to rain down from on high onto high value naval targets - i.e aircraft carriers.
Phalanx and the like are clearly irrelevant here and even an Aegis/ABM system might be hard pressed to keep a carrier alive.
A good-enough laser would totally negate that weapon.
routinely disables go-fast boats, semi-inflatables, etc. using an inexpensive .50-cal bullet, a sniper and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. Far less expensive kit than the lasers and railguns and the sniper (in conjunction with the pilot) can decide whether, when and the optimum location for disabling the target.
The black helicopter doesn't look much like a Dolphin, but still seems appropriate.
Can the laser at least have some kind of sound effect? It isn't that I don't like the sizzle of steaks on the grill but I'm thinking something with a bit more gusto. You know just to get the attention of the bad guys and show that you aren't playing. Yes, being taken out silently from little more than a dot on the horizon does put the fear of the all powerful into a person but then they might just chalk up a burnt motor to bad luck. On the other hand, there's just something about the sound of an M61 Vulcan or a GAU-8 Avenger that says; "excuse me, just a moment of your time".
They already have a system for that - it's called sail in and out of Portsmouth submerged at speed. Hit fishing boat, sink it and kill crew.
Then deny that you had a sub in the area until a passing group of school children show you the pictures of the sub submerging that they drew just before the incident.
Then when you raise the wreck of the fishing boat and find the hull smashed in and acoustic tiles embedded in the wreckage - classify the whole thing as secret. And prosecute the owners of the fishing boat for their life raft being out of test date.
And various machine vision systems seem to do quite weell at finding "anything that doesn't look like sea" very quickly - far more effectively than humans can.
IIRC when one was tested about a decade ago it immediately found a dingy in trouble whilst looking for buoys (A comment made at the time was human head and fishing net buoys are about the same size)
Perhaps the various navies of the world should consider having this kind of stuff onboard when dealing with wooden boats which don't give much radar reflection. (Why are there so few AWACs planes over pirate alley?)
Remember the unexplained die-off of over a million small fish, washed up in Redondo Beach Harbor last month? Anyone care to connect the dots? After all, microwaves are used to heat water to boiling temperature.... a 15 kW beam certainly in the path of a swarm of mackerel or sardines will be deadly.
How many MILLIONS of dollars are spent here? Consider the financial crisis we are in right now, how can we afford to do this? If we just used all these funds to give the Pirates credit cards( purchases for American Goods only), - not only would we have a lot more friends, a lot less priracy, but also a whole slew of new buyers supporting the US economy and our products. Soon enough, they'll be wallowing in credit balances they can't afford to maintain either....
Btw, Lasers don't work well in high humidity, as in rain or fog, so we just fire at aggressors on sunny days....