Battlefield Strength Laser…

Last year reported “Electric lasers have hit battlefield strength for the first time — paving the way for energy weapons to go to war. In recent test-blasts, Pentagon-researchers at Northrop Grumman managed to get its 105 kilowatts of power out of their laser — past the “100kW threshold that has been viewed traditionally as a proof of principle for ‘weapons grade’ power levels for high-energy lasers,” Northrop’s vice president of directed energy systems, Dan Wildt, said in a statement. That much power won’t get you a Star Wars-style blaster. But it should be more than enough to zap the mortars and rockets that insurgents have used to pound American bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

100 kilowatts of piercing light isn’t something to sneeze at, even fired for just a few seconds, but Northrup Grumman’s long-awaited weapons-grade laser recently ran for a full 10 minutes. That milestone is the feather in the company’s cap as it prepares to ship the hulking machine to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where it will presumably begin doing what it does best — turning things into crispier, more exploded versions of themselves in no time flat.

Well a year later and The Office of Naval Research and their industry partner Northrop Grumman successfully disable a small target vessel using a solid-state, high-energy laser (HEL), mounted onto the deck of the Navy’s self-defence test ship, the former USS Paul Foster (DD 964).

Northrop Grumman designed and built the MLD for the Office of Naval Research, leveraging a laser built by Northrop Grumman for the US Army Space and Missile Defence Command /Army Forces Strategic Command and the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office.

Open ocean tests were conducted between October 2010 and April 2011 at the Pacific Ocean Test Range near San Nicolas Island off the Central California coast. For these tests, the laser system was installed on the Navy’s Self Defence Test Ship, the USS Paul Foster.

This is obviously good news for the pirate infested waters off the coast of Somalia.…come to think of it, is this the first sign of a useful gadget for Raymarine to come up with for our yachts? ….oh yes…this would make crossing the Traffic Separation Zone in the English Channel just a little more interesting!


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