You could easily fit that to a whale
But could people please stop saying "hence why". 'Hence' makes the 'why' redundant.
British miltech boffinry outfit Qinetiq has opened a testing centre named the Dragonworks for the building and tweaking of giant laser cannon. So named after the Dragonfire weapon which will be its first product, the Dragonworks is located near Farnborough, in the heart of the leafy Home Counties. The facility, which includes …
It might have been the right fit.
On second thoughts, it is perhaps a good thing that Megalodon went extinct. Even though they were probably deep ocean sharks, a predator with a mouth that fits six humans with room to spare could put people off bathing in the ocean.
Well, it will be a perfect match for the F-35 which can't take off (or even be outdoors) in the rain. Not without a hoodie at least.
In ancient and medieval times campaigning stopped in the winter due to unfavourable weather (and a general lack of food).
Maybe getting back to that custom would be a good first step. Then it would merely remain to extend the "no fighting" season through the summer.
"In ancient and medieval times campaigning stopped in the winter due to unfavourable weather (and a general lack of food)."
Confucius remarked that "In Spring and Autumn there are no righteous wars."
Double meaning: because fighting in the planting and harvesting seasons is very bad for the economy, but Spring and Autumn was the name of the official Chinese history book.
You have Confucius on your side.
We build a gigantic laser cannon, mount it on one of our 'Aircraft Carriers' (which have no aircraft to carry apart from the occasional Gypsy Moth) and use the second carrier as a fuel supply since they failed to install nuclear propulsion on either ship.
The other, more sensible, option is that we train up 20 very angry Great White sharks and mount lasers on them.
"why waste money developing another version of sometimes effective weapon?"
A good reason would be to, for example, avoid buying into something like the USA's F-35B project with no real control or oversight available to the UK government, delays, ever-escalating costs (mostly going to US firms), and operational dependence on totally and utterly friendly and reliable foreign nations - such as Turkey for engine servicing, at the insistence of the USA.
- after all, there's no really good laser weapon system yet in service which can do something conventional weapons can't so there isn't one you can just buy now. The Yanks are fielding one example of their apparently effective AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System but when the ship it's on is decommissioned next year, the laser's not being shifted to its replacement.
A credible reason would be that the defence contractors involved in Dragonfire are good at lobbying the government and MOD.
Take yer pick.
"The Yanks and Ruskies are about five to ten years ahead of us, why waste money developing another version of sometimes effective weapon?"
The UK is pretty good with original research and even building prototypes. What we are shit at is development and production of a final product. Weapons systems are not generally mass produced so we might possibly do ok with this.
Hampshire is rarely considered part of the home counties, and certainly not the heart of them.
Aside form that, the point that got me was the mention of reduced effectiveness due to water vapour. While lasers sound cool, they really work better in the absence of atmosphere*. The idea that ramping up the power behind it to compensate for foggy conditions is probably not the best. The only way to penetrate water vapour is for the beam to be powerful enough that it superheats it instantly. Which would take a lot of power and create massive amounts of steam which would a) add to the problem of beam decoherence and b) draw a very obvious straight line between the target and the weapon platform along the path of your supposedly invisible death-ray.
At the end of the day, kinetics are simpler, more efficient and more effective. Yes, you could potentially build a laser powerful enough to punch a hole through battleship plate, but there are more than enough ways to do that already which are simpler, proven and already in production. If they want to spend money on researching better weapons I'd strongly suggest they look into coil guns. Using a strong magnetic pulse to accelerate a solid projectile is way more efficient than lasers and can, if you can get it efficient enough, provide benefits over chemical accelerants.
* I'm not suggesting that lasers are particularly useful in space, either. I've read enough of Project Rho to understand that they're essentially a good way of cooking your crew with waste heat while doing very little damage to your target compared to the total energy output of your "weapon". The only practical use for them is to damage fragile sensory equipment but even then, it's probably cheaper to keep hurling chunks of metal until you either knock out something important or just wreck the target completely.
> I'm not suggesting that lasers are particularly useful in space, either.
Lasers do have one huge advantage over kinetic weapons of all kinds: The speed of light.
In close combat it doesn't make a big difference, but over huge distances without dust or haze like you might find in space that advantage means that you can destroy any missile crawling towards you. Evasive maneuvers also get a lot more difficult when somebody shoots light beams at you.
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They wouldn't be the ones at Shoeburyness, New Ranges Sector Shoeburyness, Southend-on-Sea SS3 9SR by any chance would they?
"White, surely, if you want to emit absorbed energy."
Anti-laser paint is black and ablative.
I am told that at one time the stocks of NATO rifles were made of a material which, it turned out, emitted a toxic dose of gas if struck by a laser rangefinder. An ablative coating was developed which lacked this side effect. Of course periodic repainting is needed.
Of course periodic repainting is needed.
Probably not - after the first time it's hit by a laser rangefinder, the weapon owner is unlikely to be in a position to do any DIY. Which in fact makes one wonder about the whole premise - if someone has just got a fix on you, a whiff of toxic gas is likely to be the least of your worries.
Assuming it was built by US defense contractors with MOD input and started very long ago in a galaxy very far away, we'd just about now be requesting modifications because the current generation of Tie fighters were too heavy to take off from it.
"..and fabulous sequinned uniforms for the armed forces"
Not that bad an idea. Part of the logic behind having really impressive armies, battleships and so on is that the sensible ruler doesn't want them getting wrecked by having nasty people shoot at them. So, hopefully, fewer wars. It's part of why guerilla warfare is seen as so unfair. They don't have to worry about the uniform bills.
For about 100 years naval gunfire has been able to fire further than the visible horizon. Replacing the main armament with something which can't possibly fire that far because it has to be line of sight and even in the best of conditions would be skimming the surface of the sea and therefore getting lots of deflection from the moisture gradient, spray, etc, makes no sense. Also, delivering enough energy at long range to do more than temporarily blind another ship is probably impossible. So that's probably not the use.
Anti-air / anti-missile probably makes a lot more sense. They are closer or higher so the range and distortion is less of an issue. The amount of energy you need to deliver to a missile or aircraft to destroy it is much much less. They can't be made reflective or they lose their stealth. Extremely rapid tracking and extremely low time-of-flight is important, which plays to the strength of lasers. All in all most likely this is a CIWS replacement / augmentation. It could also do a great job of blinding enemy pilots at extremely long ranges. That's illegal but so long as you can make the argument that you were trying to burn him rather than blind him, it's all fine, history is written by the winners.
Worrying about swarms of RIBs with explosives in is the terribly modern thing for the Navy at the moment, I suppose a laser would pop them in a highly satisfactory fashion too.
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