back to article US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

Lockheed Martin says it is ready to deliver its most powerful laser weapon yet to the US military. This Death-Star-on-wheels can shoot down drones, missiles, and similar stuff, we're told. The American weapons conglomerate self-funded the building of a 30kW test system and then scaled the design up. The 60kW version is mounted …

  1. nsld

    Seems.

    we are going to need a bigger shark....

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Seems.

      I was going to say that!

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        60KW - really?

        Wake me up when they start shipping 4MW beam lasers. Or for that matter the "Small Plasma Accelerator"

        - Commander Jameson

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: 60KW - really?

          so how long would it take to warm up my lunch at 2 miles?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slow moving targets only

    The issue is not so much the energy of the laser, but the amount of time the target spends being irradiated. Even a relatively low power laser can cook all the electronics or the propulsion in a target which is moving slowly.

    You can take out a drone or a boat with this. Maybe a relatively slow old fashioned cruise missile which is not maneuvering in the final phase (f.e. a Silkworm). Modern missile - especially hypersonic which is actively maneuvering in its terminal phase - not so much.

    In fact, as far as applications go, its most effective (albeit never advertised) application is antipersonnel. In theory we are not supposed to be doing it, due to various conventions, In practice a weapon which produces guaranteed blindness (usually permanent) in all enemy soldiers up to 5-10 miles (far outside its normal kill range) is something our military would love to get (and will misuse it this way even if they are not supposed to).

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Slow moving targets only

      In practice a weapon which produces guaranteed blindness (usually permanent) in all enemy soldiers up to 5-10 miles (far outside its normal kill range) is something our military would love to get (and will misuse it this way even if they are not supposed to).

      I'll fix that a bit.. it's not just "our" military but all militaries. I can't think of any that wouldn't mind having and using it as you describe.

      The general is right about the "target value" also. Just seems stupid to fire an expensive missile at a slow moving drone. So this laser weapon would work there. For high-maneuvering, high-speed targets, one needs a different solution.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Slow moving targets only

        I take it that your not aware that such weapons have been developed and deployed? There was a laser weapon deployed in the falklands and the ship with it mounted on was attacked but the weapon wasn't used as the ship was pointing the wrong way, according to the Admiral in charge of the task force in his memoirs.

        Having mentioned that they have been deployed, i'll then point out that they have been banned since. Remember the landmines ban? It banned fragmentation weapons using any material that wouldn't show up on an x-ray, landmines, booby traps, and blinding laser weapons.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Slow moving targets only

          I was not aware of one being deployed in the Falklands.. Thanks for that.

          I'll also add that the laser shouldn't be the last line of defense. Smoke, rain, fog, mist, etc. will make it pretty useless.

          As for the landmine ban... how's that working again? I would hope the US wouldn't use it on human targets. Hope.. hope... hope....

          1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

            Re: Slow moving targets only

            The laser weapon was used to dazzle the Argentinian pilots at low level, say on a bombing run over San Carlos Water. It relied on the light being diffused by the canopy. Very similar to the prats who point lasers at airliners.

            As I recall lasers used as blinding weapons are banned. Range finders, target markers and anti missile systems are OK, any of which may damage eyes as a collateral effect.

        2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Slow moving targets only

          It banned fragmentation weapons using any material that wouldn't show up on an x-ray, landmines, booby traps, and blinding laser weapons.

          I am giving this ban about 15 minutes once these weapons are deployed in a supposedly anti-aircraft/anti-drone role. Same as the lunatics around the Mediterranean are using a ZPU as an antipersonnel weapon. The only good thing is that the truck carrying it will shine in IR like a supernova (the generator and the lasers emit a lot of heat), all you need will be a salvo of ancient IR guided missiles and it is history. It cannot engage multiple targets simultaneously and it will be able to kill at most two. So an educated guesstimate for a guaranteed kill is ~ 5.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slow moving targets only

        "...especially hypersonic which is actively maneuvering in its terminal phase" and "For high-maneuvering, high-speed targets"

        High-speeds and manoeuvring, at least in terms of evasive manoeuvring, don't really go together. Anything travelling in the super/hypersonic realm isn't going to be doing much evasive manoeuvring due to the structural limits on the airframe and the high momentum of the vehicle.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slow moving targets only

      Fast moving targets shouldn't be a problem so long as they are coming at you...

      Anyway, the fix for that problem would be a tracking system that can move the beam along with the target. Did they forget to have Ken build them a secret phase conjugate tracking system?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slow moving targets only

        Fast moving targets shouldn't be a problem so long as they are coming at you.

        Take a missile at say mach 5, and the range of this laser, the chances are it will be slamming into it's target well before it's got warm.

      2. NemoWho

        Re: Slow moving targets only

        No - bear in mind, this tool is only intended for making enormous Swiss cheese.

  3. lnLog

    Chaff...

    So next up is getting the drones to look big on radar and the real missiles with reduced radar profile?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beware of 200kW cigarette lighter socket!

    Do NOT plug in any power inverters, USB chargers, coffee mug warmers, decorative USB/LED snowmen/xmas trees, or any other 12VDC devices into the laser truck's cigarette lighter socket! It is wired for 200kW and must be used to power the laser only! Thank you. Drive safe.

    Does the laser come in orange? Now, all the complainypants that didn't like Obama's Death Drone Squads, can rest assured that Trump's Orange LASER Death Beam will bring swift America First Justice® to anything within a two mile radius! :P

    "That beam, it's YUGE! I'm so proud. We just used it to burn up the US Constitution!" - D.J. Trump President of The Corporation of The United States of Conspiracy, LLC

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The future's cloudy!

    I'm sure this works perfectly in places like the White Sands testing range. But in rainy, foggy, europe I can't see (and neither can the LASER lorry) how this could target an enemy that is above the clouds or in the mist.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The future's cloudy!

      Fortunately we only do enemies in deserts with clean open blue skies - no need to ever have to fight an enemy anywhere snowy. Everybody that lives anywhere snowy is a friend of the administration

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: The future's cloudy!

        Russia and North Korea are pretty snowy!!

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: The future's cloudy!

        Everybody that lives anywhere snowy is a friend of the administration

        Although Trump is working hard to correct this.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The future's cloudy!

          "Everybody that lives anywhere snowy could be a friend of the administration

          Although Trump is working hard to correct this."

          ?

      3. HausWolf

        Re: The future's cloudy!

        True, we've always been at war with sandtopia... That is, until we are at war with snowsylvania.

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: The future's cloudy!

      The laser and tracking system only has to work better in bad weather than its drone target would.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The future's cloudy!

      I'm sure this works perfectly in places like the White Sands testing range. But in rainy, foggy, europe I can't see (and neither can the LASER lorry) how this could target an enemy that is above the clouds or in the mist.

      I suspect that's where the OTHER electric toy will come in handy - just eject a chunk of metal at stupid speeds using the new railgun tech.

      Whatever you're using, though, it looks like Duracell is in for some good times. All of these weapons need enough energy to power a small village for a year, so unless they come up with a way to make portable nuclear reactors, all of this fun can be affected in theatre by taking out the (power) supply chain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The future's cloudy!

        ... unless they come up with a way to make portable nuclear reactors,

        Nuclear reactors can be quite portable, provided that you do not particularly care about the lifespan of the crew (or if the vehicle is fully robotic), and economize on the shielding. For example, Soviet TOPAZ-1 was less than 1000lb:

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOPAZ_nuclear_reactor

        If you couple this one to a supercapacitor bank, for example, it can power a 200KW laser indefinitely, assuming that the duty cycle does not exceed 1% or so.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: The future's cloudy!

        "just eject a chunk of metal at stupid speeds using the new railgun tech"

        Railguns aren't new tech, The nazis tried using them in 1933 - the fact that no-one's (yet) managed to make a useful railgun that doesn't self destruct after a few shots is a matter of materials engineering more than anything else. (Although I suspect that using one as a flechette thrower would work well as a phalanx replacement)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The future's cloudy!

          Railguns aren't new tech, The nazis tried using them in 1933 - the fact that no-one's (yet) managed to make a useful railgun that doesn't self destruct after a few shots is a matter of materials engineering more than anything else.

          It appears they're well on their way on that topic. What impresses me about the railgun footage I have seen is that they accelerate a sometimes definitely non-aerodynamic piece of metal to a velocity where that no longer seems to make much of a difference. I have no idea how many G's of acceleration this is, but to go from standstill to > Mach 6 "ZONK! Holy f*ck, did it puncture all of that?" in something like 0.1s is still strikes me as rather spectacular.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're going to sell a ton of these...

    I always thought the FAA was nuts to allow drones. We are going to need laser defenses covering all military targets: the White House, Pentagon, military bases, etc.

    Imagine 100+ drones each with 10 pounds of C4 converting on one of these targets. We'd have nothing that could respond in time (that I know of).

    Even if this system works we'll need a lot more than one laser... threats could from all directions simultaneously.

    Also, I'd like to see the effectiveness in poor conditions - rain, snow, heavy fog, and smoke.

    I can see problems with a ground based defense also... The Star Wars idea (lasers on satellites ) addressed this but military blimps w/ lasers might be more practical.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "but military blimps w/ lasers might be more practical."

      You think the yanks might want this back?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        "You think the yanks might want this back?"

        make it out of CLEAR PLASTIC and, yeah!

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      > Imagine 100+ drones each with 10 pounds of C4 converting on one of these targets. We'd have nothing that could respond in time (that I know of).

      If these laser weapons were deployed as you suggest then the adversary would simply need to send 100+ drones covered with small mirrors. No actual weaponry required for people on the ground to be randomly blinded by their own military.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Small mirrors? A disco ball would add some 70's style into modern warfare countermeasures.

        1. Paul Kinsler

          Small mirrors?

          A 60kW laser hitting a drone covered with 98% reflectivity mirrors would still heat the target at a rate of 1.2kW. That still might be enough to adversely affect the drone.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Small mirrors? A disco ball would add some 70's style into modern warfare countermeasures.

          The music alone would be lethal :)

          1. Steve K Silver badge

            Stayin' Alive...Disco Inferno...Yeah baby!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Disco ball attack?

          You'll find that blover is a very effective defense. Oops, too much PVZ2.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I can see problems with a ground based defense also... The Star Wars idea (lasers on satellites ) addressed this but military blimps w/ lasers might be more practical."

      The lasers in Reagan's 'Star Wars' were one-shot X-Ray lasers, powered by fission bombs, so yes, not suitable for ground-based use. Not really suitable for blimp use either though.

  7. VeganVegan

    Just 2 mile range?

    The effective range and laser power are tremendously important:

    Even a relatively slow 500 mph missile/projectile traverses 2 mile in only 14 seconds.

    This is all the time available to the laser to kill it, or be killed.

    I wonder how long a 60 kw, presumably IR laser needs to dwell on the target to melt thru.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just 2 mile range?

      I wonder how long a 60 kw, presumably IR laser needs to dwell on the target to melt thru.

      Depends on your assumptions. Some fag packet maths suggest that 0.1 kWh would be enough to melt 250g of titanium, which is probably a reasonable guess for the energy that might disable a missile that has no anti-laser protection (or so the military hope). A 60 kW laser would deliver that in about six seconds, assuming minimal diffraction or attenuation. Allow a small amount for both, and you might say eight seconds. A relatively slow missile travelling at 1,400 mph would travel 3.1 miles in that time. A Russian R37 missile is believed to reach mach 6, and in eight seconds would travel about ten miles.

      Perhaps the interesting thing is that those numbers suggest that hardening a missile against the laser (when attacking the laser itself) is pretty easy - all you need to do is add an ablative coating, sufficient sacrificial mass, or a briefly effective reflective coating to give the missile the extra time to close on the target. In terms of that sacrificial mass, the R37 weighs around 600kg and has a range up to 400km. It would seem to me that trading two and a half kilos of fuel for the same sacrificial mass would have little impact on performance, yet would take the 60kW laser a minute or more to burn through. And that's enough time for an R37 to travel a staggering 75 miles.

      If not head on, the maths is more favourable for the laser because you can't put the entire missile in a sacrificial coating but at hypersonic speeds the missile would not be in range for more than a couple of seconds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just 2 mile range?

        "A relatively slow missile travelling at 1,400 mph would travel 3.1 miles in that time. A Russian R37 missile is believed to reach mach 6, and in eight seconds would travel about ten miles."

        Thanks to momentum, even if you do manage to disable the guidance system, or even compromise the airframe, leading to a break-up, the debris will still be a pretty effective kinetic weapon.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Just 2 mile range?

          'A Russian R37 missile is believed to reach mach 6, and in eight seconds would travel about ten miles'

          If something is going that fast I don't think a LASER is going to noticeably heat the skin more than friction already is. But then not every weapon works against every target.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          debris will still be a pretty effective kinetic weapon.

          No, unless they keep an enough aerodynamic shape to avoid to lose speed and direction quickly, and are large enough to keep enough momentum once no longer powered.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: debris will still be a pretty effective kinetic weapon.

            And most ballistic missiles AREN'T powered in their descents.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: debris will still be a pretty effective kinetic weapon.

              better to have debris than a nuclear yield. If you disrupt the electronics enough, it goes "puphhhh" instead of "BOOOM!"

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Just 2 mile range?

      "I wonder how long a 60 kw, presumably IR laser needs to dwell on the target to melt thru."

      At those speeds you don't need to do more than compromise the skin. Airflow will do the rest - and if it's an IR or TV seeker, then all you need to do is blind it - 30kW is more than enough to do that if it's flying towards you.

      Anyhow, forget mounting them on trucks and consider what happens when you fit these to a AC-130U instead of (or in addition to) the 105mm howitzer

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Just 2 mile range?

        Range is ONE issue, but...

        What's the firing rate? one burst per minute? one per second? 10 per second? Frickin' laser MACHINE GUN? Continuous blast in whatever direction it's pointing?

        Anyway if it fits in a truck, it'd fit on a spacecraft. Just sayin'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just 2 mile range?

      I wonder how long a 60 kw, presumably IR laser needs to dwell on the target to melt thru.

      At present I guess that is indeed the only targeting solution, but I can imagine that if optics and targeting improves you could go after propulsion or targeting mechanisms instead - assuming that diverting it elsewhere is not giving you more problems.

      Laser weapons have one other advantage: they don't run out, so if you have multiple ones you can spread the power over multiple sources. Provided you can get the sensor to shooter link to all shooters sufficiently fast you could just cook the target from multiple sides, that also renders any potential defensive action by the target less effective.

  8. inmypjs Silver badge

    Still not seeing this

    Countermeasure is to make your missiles/drones/whatever shiny and 59.5 of your 60kW gets reflected somewhere else.

    1. James Ashton
      Flame

      Re: Still not seeing this

      Making targets reflective is surprisingly ineffective against lasers. Only a small amount of heating starts to darken the surface and then it's all over.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still not seeing this

        Only a small amount of heating starts to darken the surface and then it's all over.

        Against a slow moving drone that's fine. Against an incoming missile moving at mach 5 the laser won't have much time. The other problem is that this IS an arms race. We can build shielding to enable spacecraft to reentter the earth's atmosphere, so somebody can certainly build a missile with sufficient heat proofing to last for a few seconds, and that simply has to fly down the beam.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Still not seeing this

          That would add weight, which is a serious consideration for a missile. As for heat shielding, unless you can make a shield that can survive a trip through the Sun's corona, then the substance doesn't exist yet that can absorb all that energy concentrated for more than a split second. And once it's through, the laser only needs a split second to do some major damage to the delicate insides of a warhead.

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: Still not seeing this

            Countermeasures are possible, I would be interested in seeing how small and lightweight corner reflectors can be made from an ablative substance. How much light sent back to the source would start to cause problems for the weapon and more importantly for the operators?

            At the most basic end expect to see missiles and drones Chrome plated in the future.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Still not seeing this

              As I said before, they need to be tougher than is currently possible with manmade technology to be able to reflect a 60kW beam back for more than a split second. The moment the reflective surface warps in any way, it stops being reflective, which means it becomes absorptive, which means it's gonna melt PDQ. And if it only takes a momentary hit for things to get nasty, evasive maneuvers will only work so much as the laser would only have to be lucky a few times to start causing trouble. And since we're talking a mostly-solid-state weapon with near-zero lead time, it's probably going to be able to track an incoming projectile more easily than the projectile can dodge.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    OMFG this is an astonishing story.

    No not the laser..

    LM spends own money on new weapons tech.

    This is about as common as (for example) BAe delivering a new warship on time.

    My flabber is duly gasted.

    Obvious counter measures will be shooting at it with an AA gun (good for about 5Km at ground level) and coating the missile with a multi-layer fabry-perot mirror. These can deliver 99.9% reflectivity and can be made in flexible sheets. Paint over with a burn off camouflage paint and when the laser hits it will look impressive for a few seconds (while the paint spot burns away) then 99.9% of the light reflects in whatever direction the surface is angled at (it's unlikely to be flat on at 90 degrees).

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: OMFG this is an astonishing story.

      I wouldn't put paint on a reflective surface and then hit it with a laser. Any ash or burn residue will create a problem for your missile. I fried (literally) a mirror in a laser cutter when after aligning things, I got distracted and failed to properly clean the mirror I was adjusting. Hit it with full power and "poof!".. fragments.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: OMFG this is an astonishing story.

      Plus that .01% alone would be enough to warp the reflective coating, which will cause it's reflectivity to drop fast.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OMFG this is an astonishing story.

      LM spends own money on new weapons tech.

      Only to proof of concept level. All they wish to do is persuade the sand-brains of the Pentagon that this is worth backing, and there's billions of dollars to do research for decades. Keep on about the promise, sweep all show-stoppers and shortcomings under the carpet, and the R&D becomes a huge earner in its own right. Matters not whether they ever make a single production unit.

      So not at all astonishing, just good commercial sense by LM, "Toymakers to the Pentagon"

  10. Steve Knox

    Easy to Destroy

    Just shove a torpedo potato down that thermal exhaust port muffler...

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Easy to Destroy

      Just shove a torpedo potato down that thermal exhaust port muffler

      That's no Moon!

      El Reg, we need a Star Wars Icon

    2. Pedigree-Pete
      Happy

      Potato-Muffler....

      much like sticking a banana up the tailpipe. PP

  11. Jimbo in Thailand
    Facepalm

    Lockheed Martin... OMG please say it isn't so!

    You can be absolutely 1000% sure that since the beyond--incompetent effing idiots at Lockheed Martin came up with this thing that it will be just another abysmal failure AND beyond severely overpriced, i.e., a "complete disaster" (in Trump's lingo). Did I mention overpriced? But how can I predict with such conviction that it will fail so miserably? I'll give you two hints...

    F-22...

    and...

    F-35

    Enough said.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Lockheed Martin... OMG please say it isn't so!

      Er? I don't think that 'complete disaster' is in The Donald's vocabulary.

      I'm sure he'll see this as a great weapon to stop the Mexicans from scaling that wall he's gonna build so this bit of kit will surely be described as

      Tremendous and Fantastic and 'they're gonna pay for it'

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Lockheed Martin... OMG please say it isn't so!

        > a great weapon to stop the Mexicans from scaling that wall he's gonna build

        And they're already climbing it

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    Next step

    Now all we need to do is install this tech in all international airports and on top of all prisons and we'll be sorted.

    As long as they don't target actual planes, that is . . .

  13. chivo243 Silver badge
    Holmes

    for defensive applications

    Right, got ya, wink wink nudge nudge

    Well, if you're not supposed to be there in the first place, and someone fires on you, you have to defend yourself because you are trespassing? I guess blinding someone is better than killing them... New world order?

  14. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Happy

    Life imitating art

    The weapon is a beam-combined fiber laser,

    Just like the Death Star in the film, except there the beams seemed to combine in front of the weapon, instead of inside an optical cable.

  15. herman Silver badge

    The obvious solution is to cover your missiles/drones in optical fibre, to route the laser light around it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh

    The weakness is the targeting system - jammable/spoofable radar, lidar, electro-optical / infra-red.

    Salvoes of incoming ordnance can also trail smoke/chaff to pollute the flightpath.

    Has some use in blinding IR/optical sensors on missiles tho. I think latest russian planes have such a thing, and helicopters too ('president-s' system iirc).

    Once these things are widely deployed, I expect to see drones designed to resemble birds.

  17. mics39
    Thumb Up

    HEMTT

    Forget the laser part, what the world needs is ready deployment of HEMTTs at disaster areas and refugee camps. UN refugee programmes, MFS, Red Cross, Oxfam etc could do wonders with rugged mobile 200 kW generators.

    1. Mystic Megabyte
      Happy

      Re: HEMTT

      Don't be daft, no 'Merkin vehicles can cross railway tracks without bottoming out.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: HEMTT

        No, they can't cross railway tracks because the railway crossings are all huge humps. Physically, American vehicles aren't that much different from their European counterparts. If a car can bottom out on a FLAT railroad crossing, It would probably become an instant YouTube sensation.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Oxfam etc could do wonders with rugged mobile 200 kW generators."

      You do realize that's about a269 Hp engine, right?

      Like a pickup truck.

      Now a 200 MW engine that size would be very impressive.

  18. Long John Baldrick

    Northern climes - not including Scotland

    Northern climes can have exceptionally clear skies, as any skier knows. Always had to wear goggles to prevent snow glare, up until they fogged over. Then I had to stop until I cleaned the goggles. It always made things interesting on black diamond sloopes.

  19. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Defensive tactic

    FInd two ships

    Fly attacking drone, missile etc onto a course on a straight line between vessels A and B

    make random sharp left./right deviations of course.

    Write Vessel A's name on the side of Vessel B in molten steel...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Defensive tactic

      Fly drone at 1m altitude through army base - watch as laser slices morning parade in half

  20. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The trucks themselves must present a sizable heat signature after firing, I'd think.

    As for keeping the beam on the target, that works against you all the way because in order for the turret motors to keep pace with the angular change in target position, you have to be far enough away to make the rate of change relatively slow, meaning you need a more powerful laser.

    What happens if you paint your missiles with the paint used for lining roads? Or cover it with cat's eye reflectors?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      "As for keeping the beam on the target, that works against you all the way because in order for the turret motors to keep pace with the angular change in target position, you have to be far enough away to make the rate of change relatively slow"

      Why? Shouldn't turning a mirror should be a heck of a lot easier than trying to turn a hypersonic missile and still maintain integrity and target fixation.

      "What happens if you paint your missiles with the paint used for lining roads? Or cover it with cat's eye reflectors?"

      Against a 60kW beam? They'd burn or melt tout suite.

  21. Anonymous Git

    ...and the sale of mirrors sky rockets, lol

  22. User McUser

    Power Requirements

    I was wondering about how they planned on powering this thing in the field and then I remembered this article from late 2014.

  23. JJKing
    IT Angle

    Set lasers to stun.

    Trucks with lasers. Mmmm, doesn't have the same ring to it as sharks.

    From the first flight in 1903, it took 11 years to make the aeroplane a weapon. What will this laser be capable of doing in 11 years and remember 100kW was mentioned in the article which is a bit of a markup from 60kW. Now link 5 trucks together and you now have power a pretty snazzy magic beam.

  24. Farnet

    Towers

    The next thing we'll have here;

    Trump will have installed one of these at his ugly tacky pink residence, and is hunting down all the 'fake news' reporters

  25. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    but is it cheap enough

    to replace Iron Dome?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    spin, mirrors, etc.

    as was explained to me succinctly many years ago.

    "the energy arrives so fast, it's like a ballerina pirouetting in front of a shotgun blast".

  27. Jim84

    Effective against mortar rounds?

    Would this system be effective against the mortar rounds often fired against military bases by insurgent groups such as the Taliban?

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