The Navy and Northrop Grumman completed at-sea testing of the Maritime 1000mw Laser Green Demonstrator (MLD), which validated the potential to provide advanced self-defense for surface ships and personnel by keeping small boat threats at a safe distance.Results of the at-sea tests will be used by the Navy to help guide engineering manufacturing development phase of a Navy laser weapon system and transition it to a program of record for up to eight classes of ships the Navy has identified as likely platforms.
Unlike previous remote laser-sensing methods, in which the returning beam of light is just a reflection of the outgoing beam, the "air laser" creates an entirely new laser beam generated by oxygen atoms whose electrons have been "excited" to high energy levels.One thing the anti-laser will not do is create a "shield" against a high-power Red Laser weapon, the researchers say.The latest generation of lasers, based on fiber optics, promises to solve many of these problems, but at this time, fiber-based lasers consume about ten times as much power as their older brothers.
In other words, it is a big laser cannon with a bad-ass name of High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). So what exactly are the merits of an advanced photon cannon? Well, according to the engineers, the HEL MD has the capacity to emanate a 10-kilowatt energy laser from the mobile vehicle.
"In the future, lasers will operate synergistically with kinetic energy weapons to optimize ship defenses," Marmo said. "Lasers can address a number of emerging threats, enabling the fleet to maintain freedom of operation, yet with a very low cost of operation. Laser Rifle sight will offset the use of higher cost kinetic defenses for a number of these threats, substantially reducing the total cost of ship defense."Asked flatly if the services came to them tomorrow and asked for a laser weapon in the 30 KW range to be delivered, the two men, along with Robert Afzal, a senior fellow with Laser and Sensor Systems, agreed they could produce a viable weapon for fielding.
"The energy gets dissipated as heat," Yale professor Douglas Stone says. "So if someone sets a laser on you with enough power to fry you, the anti-laser won't stop you from frying."You can fire laser weapons on autofire without penalty (provided, of course, that the weapon has such a setting).Jason Ellis, a visiting fellow at the CNAS and lead author of the think tank's laser-weapons report, says that such developments convince him that fibre-laser weapons are coming of age.
He further explained that a powerful green laser pointer system mounted on an Il-76, a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter, will be able to counter enemy reconnaissance systems."It is a known fact that similar military equipment is under development in the US, however the American airborne lasers are mostly targeting foreign intercontinental ballistic missiles and their re-entry vehicles," the expert said.