Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

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Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby AndrewW » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:58 pm

The dream of sailors, nerds and sailor-nerds everywhere is on the verge of coming true, senior Navy technologists swear. Within four years, they claim they’ll have a working prototype of a laser cannon, ready to place aboard a ship. And they’re just months away from inviting defense contractors to bid on a contract to build it for them.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03 ... our-years/
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby far-trader » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:46 pm

First thought: Well, I guess that beats the usual perpetually five years away. Let's see how close this is to happening in four years. My guess is it will still be four years away ;)

Second thought: Umm, aren't most naval engagements over the horizon? Is this laser going to shoot through the water or bounce the beam off an orbital mirror? ;)
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby AndrewW » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:22 pm

far-trader wrote:Second thought: Umm, aren't most naval engagements over the horizon? Is this laser going to shoot through the water or bounce the beam off an orbital mirror? ;)
One mentioned use was cutting a moterboat engine, that doesn't have to be over the horizon...

Possible use could be to intercept missiles or Kamikazi's.
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby Rusty_Unycorn » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:32 pm

Nah, you just build a small fast boat with enough power for 2 or 3 lasers with a couple of the new rail guns for point defense (Oh, and maybe use them as sandcasters as well!), and send them out in droves.
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby rust » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:36 pm

far-trader wrote:First thought: Well, I guess that beats the usual perpetually five years away. Let's see how close this is to happening in four years. My guess is it will still be four years away ;)

Second thought: Umm, aren't most naval engagements over the horizon? Is this laser going to shoot through the water or bounce the beam off an orbital mirror? ;)
And a third thought: Lasers are completely useless as weapons in rain,
fog or smoke - and with current technology it is cheap and easy to cre-
ate a smokescreen ...
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby far-trader » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:37 pm

AndrewW wrote:
far-trader wrote:Second thought: Umm, aren't most naval engagements over the horizon? Is this laser going to shoot through the water or bounce the beam off an orbital mirror? ;)
One mentioned use was cutting a moterboat engine, that doesn't have to be over the horizon...

Possible use could be to intercept missiles or Kamikazi's.
I suppose I skimmed the article too quickly. My impression was (mention/comparing to systems like cruise missiles, aircraft, fast-moving boats, unmanned aerial vehicles) that it was in the role of long range stand off attack, not close in defense. In other words I was picturing it as a main gun, in the role of long range attack, against other ships.

No doubt a destroyer with big laser canons has KEWL!! written all over it, but practical? I'm not so sure.

The article certainly seems to be leaning to the big laser guns blazing away having replaced the big shells booming away. Despite the demonstration which like most such was probably heavily stacked against the poor little outboard motor boat.
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby BP » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:51 am

Recall something a few years back about Raytheon pairing laser weps with Phalanx CIWS... but suspect it was just for show.

Of course, twenty years from now, wouldn't be surprised to learn that the Navy had such weapons four years ago - or ruled such out as impractical ten years before (replaced by something better).

Given the amazing capabilities of today's systems, one does have to ask what the point is. Ironically, the Navy sports the best platforms for such weapons (reactor powered vessels for a start) - and yet probably the least need from a offensive capability standpoint. However, it notably means eliminating munition loading, on board storage and limitations (and all the armor and machinery that goes with them). There could also be ROF advantages and reliability factors not to mention unparalleled accuracy and stealth capabilities.

I find it rather humorous that folks think the military airs all its development testing (and budgetary expenditures) so publicly. Actual new systems are generally not public knowledge for a good many years after actual deployment - unless there is a good reason for others to waste money pursuing a misdirection... ;)

The notion that all lasers are easily defeated by polished chrome (or shiny suits), smog and rain I find rather amusing as well. Yes, simple commercial lab lasers from 40+ years ago...
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby AndrewW » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:56 am

BP wrote:The notion that all lasers are easily defeated by polished chrome (or shiny suits), smog and rain I find rather amusing as well. Yes, simple commercial lab lasers from 40+ years ago...
They will just start drapping the ships in reflec.
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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby Captain Jonah » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:37 am

AndrewW wrote:
BP wrote:The notion that all lasers are easily defeated by polished chrome (or shiny suits), smog and rain I find rather amusing as well. Yes, simple commercial lab lasers from 40+ years ago...
They will just start draping the ships in reflec.
That will certainly help with those stealth ships
BP wrote:Recall something a few years back about Raytheon pairing laser weps with Phalanx CIWS... but suspect it was just for show.

Of course, twenty years from now, wouldn't be surprised to learn that the Navy had such weapons four years ago - or ruled such out as impractical ten years before (replaced by something better).

Given the amazing capabilities of today's systems, one does have to ask what the point is. Ironically, the Navy sports the best platforms for such weapons (reactor powered vessels for a start) - and yet probably the least need from a offensive capability standpoint. However, it notably means eliminating munition loading, on board storage and limitations (and all the armor and machinery that goes with them). There could also be ROF advantages and reliability factors not to mention unparalleled accuracy and stealth capabilities.

I find it rather humorous that folks think the military airs all its development testing (and budgetary expenditures) so publicly. Actual new systems are generally not public knowledge for a good many years after actual deployment - unless there is a good reason for others to waste money pursuing a misdirection... ;)

The notion that all lasers are easily defeated by polished chrome (or shiny suits), smog and rain I find rather amusing as well. Yes, simple commercial lab lasers from 40+ years ago...

Call my a Cynic, lots of people do :wink: .

A “Leak” like this has two purposes, its either to cover up for something else that is going into deployment/field testing and they want a good cover story or its to cover for leaks about an actual project that is far more advanced and they want something in hand in case anything escapes the curtain.

“Well yes of course we have a team playing with lasers, they are years away from being ready for even field testing, did you not see the press release. Yes I know you have just seen reports about a laser turret designed for the new advanced escort destroyers, it’s a mock up, made of plywood I think. The team wanted to have an idea of what sort of volume was available on the ship. No story here, we are a decade away from actually having laser armed warships”.

Maybe some very strange looking turrets are going to be cropping up on naval ships in the next year and explaining they are test beds for these new lasers is a good cover story to conceal the fact that those 200+ mile range rail guns are being deployed.

Laser point defense is probably the most viable reason, replace the close in gattling with a light speed highly accurate and ammo less system. The same system that can take out incoming missiles does a good secondary duty taking down small craft. The levels of throughput being talked about with these systems means that blooming will be a problem but if you are melting a target 30km or less away its not going to be much of a problem.

The 1 Mw Free electron lasers will be taking out light armour line of sight, some rain or fog isn’t going to stop it. Also moving the lasers out of the visible light range will help with this anyway.

Keep an eye out for a new escort type with a nuke plant or a new cruiser type with significantly reduced missile load out.

A nuke escort with two or three laser mounts has a better chance of taking down incoming, has no limits due to volume of missile or ammo storage and can multi tasks against incoming shells and rounds as well. Creating a zone to the horizon and up to low orbit where you can engage anything that moves gives you significant interdiction ability. Also think ICBMs.

A cruiser design that replaces the entire forward missile bay with a single oversized turret with a very long barreled weapon can be dropping terminally guided shells on a target well over the horizon against both land and sea targets.

The ability to sit over the horizon from an enemies cost and drop shells several hundred miles in land is significant.

No the fact that information is being released is significant not as much for the information being released but more for the fact of the release.

A few years ago I was watching the releases relating to development of experimental plasma weapons and rail guns being played with by the US navy researchers and by DARPA. In both cases they were in the form of informal test work carried out on the side and both were showing promise. Then every report vanished, archives were cleared out and the people involved stopped posting information to science journals or anywhere else. That was more than a decade ago. I do wonder what they have been doing since. :shock:

Weaponised Lasers and Rail guns are far more advanced that they seem, wiki leaks hasn’t been finding reports of such weapons because they aren’t as embarrassing as those leaked emails and so probably isn’t even looking.

Remember many years ago the stories about wedge shaped UFOs, the cover stories about them. Reports of Air force planes flying in formation with triangular UFOs, big conspiracy, UFO theorists everywhere, stories about secret UFO research in area 51.

Then came the arrival of a fully developed and working stealth aircraft. Wedge shaped and angular to defeat enemy radar. :shock:

Look between the lines, behind the lines, above and below the lines. There is likely to be a great Traveller centric story hear but it probably isn’t offensive lasers in four years time. :lol:
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

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Re: Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships

Postby Rusty_Unycorn » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:06 am

Captain Jonah wrote:
Look between the lines, behind the lines, above and below the lines. There is likely to be a great Traveller centric story hear but it probably isn’t offensive lasers in four years time. :lol:
"Our informants for the Imperial Naval Design Liaison at the Unicorn Belt Shipyards R&D Department has informed us that the Imperial Navy is currently getting ready to test a new generation of Meson weaponry. When asked, the Navy confirmed this by explicitly denying it and stating that we are actually seeing a zero-g development of the common weather balloon."
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