The announcement to deploy the Red Laser Pointer comes as military researchers continue to try to make progress on directed-energy weapons. In 2012, the Laser Weapon System downed several drones in tests.But the program experienced a series of cost overruns and delays. It never went beyond testing. "I spent my life at sea,"Rear Adm. Nevin Carr told Wired, "and I never thought we'd see this kind of progress this quickly, where we're approaching a decision of when we can put laser weapons on ships."
It shows how the high power laser pointer as a symbol came to link two very different applications: the everyday use of low-energy lasers to increase the "precision" of technologies, and the experimental development of high-energy lasers that would be destructive. In 2011,the Navy had success with another laser system mounted on a warship when it fired and set fire to an empty motorboat as it bobbed in the Pacific Ocean. It was the first time in history the Navy pulled off the feat.I argue that the symbolic appeal of laser weapons made the red laser pointer a central part of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative or "Star Wars" missile defense program.
Last year, the Missile Defense Agency's airborne red laser pointer program was canceled after more than 15 years of development and $5 billion in federal funding.In a demonstration near California's San Nicholas Island last Wednesday, scientists with the U.S. Navy tested a laser weapon aboard the USS Paul Foster by shooting a 15-kilowatt beam at an inflatable boat from a mile away, causing the outboard engines to burst into flames.The X-wing fighters, the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise used laser weapons in great fictional battles to conquer and/or defend the universe.
Details on the burning laser pointer weapons systems are being kept under wraps, but an official from the Air Force said that all branches of the military are developing laser weapons. The program involved a Boeing 747 jumbo jet equipped with an advanced tracking system and a massive laser gun on its nose to identify and obliterate enemy missiles as they blast off. It was the world's first successful water-test of a high-energy laser.
Many kinds of military aircraft are already fitted with lasers, but they're used primarily as countermeasures for infrared targeting systems, according to David Walker, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering.All of these high power laser pointer weapons used directed energy, in the form of a burning laser pointer beam, to disable or kill an opponent.
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