Laser weapons development by 2023

Discussion in 'Defense Industry & Policy' started by Pathfinder, Feb 28, 2016.

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 25, 2016) -- Responding to lawmakers' questions about how close the Army is to developing offensive and defensive directed-energy weapons, Mary J. Miller responded: "I believe we're very close."

    Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, and other experts testified before the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Feb. 24. Miller's topic was the Army's Science and Technology, or S&T, Program for fiscal year 2017.

    The Army's S&T effort is committed to pursuing high-energy lasers, she said. That effort has been used in an analysis of alternatives for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability program of record.

    Now, that effort has been "aligned to transition into a program of record in the fiscal 2023 timeframe," she said. It's already planned and funded.

    "Why that long?" she asked rhetorically.

    Because it's being done in a "step-wise demonstration of capability," she said. "We have to make sure the lasers work and do the full set of scopes against the threats we project. And those threats include the counter-rockets, counter-artillery and counter-mortar as well as [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] and cruise missile threats."

    Miller explained that the Army wants to understand the lasers' full capabilities "before we offer it to a Soldier."

    Operators need to trust what lasers can do, she added.

    "Lasers have been promised for a long time, but they've never held up and delivered what was asked for, so the operators are rightfully skeptical," she pointed out. That's why the Army is taking lasers out into operational environments and testing them.

    In the meantime, "there will be steps along the way where we spin off lesser capable laser systems that can do good things on smaller platforms. Those will come out soon," she concluded.

    Dr. David Walker, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, agreed with Miller's logic for step-wise rollouts.

    "We too have spun off lesser-capable laser systems," he said, following Miller's remarks.

    The Air Force is flying every day with lasers under its transport aircraft, using them as infrared countermeasure system," so we too spun off lesser-capable laser systems and as we get larger power outputs and better thermal management out of smaller package lasers, we will build those powers into defensive to offensive capability as well," Walker said.

    Walker also said the Air Force is working with Special Operations Command to develop an offensive laser that will be fitted to AFSOC AC-130 gunships. Part of that technology, he said, includes "beam-steering and power and thermal management."

    The Navy's science representative described similar laser programs for ships, subs and Marines.

    A lawmaker asked if the services are duplicating efforts.

    Dr. Stephen Welby, assistant secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, replied that all activities of each of the services are coordinated through the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office.

    That office "serves as a clearing house and center of coordination across all the service departments to ensure each of our investments are aligned and not duplicative and are building on each other in each of our domains and service-unique issues," he explained. "We coordinate very well," he added, terming the effort part of the "third offset strategy."

    A lawmaker then asked Welby what the third offset means.

    He explained that laser programs are just a small part of the third offset, which is the Defense Department's endeavor to dominate the battlefield of the future with "asymmetric advantages." Other offset strategies include unmanned and autonomous systems and cognitive warfare, he added.

    The first two offsets involved Cold War efforts targeting the Soviet Union, the first being tactical nuclear weapons developed in the 1950s and precision weapons in the 1970s, he explained.

    http://www.army.mil/article/163029/Laser_weapons_development_by_2023/
     
  2. Cossack25A1

    Cossack25A1 1st Lieutenant

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    It seems laser weapons mounted on vehicles, ships, aircraft and buildings may be coming soon, but hand-held lethal laser guns are still far from becoming reality.
     
  3. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    Lethal lasers, yes, still too little power to even break through a light shirt. But there are hand-held lasers on today's battlefields. These are ethical dubious, often of dubious legality "blinding lasers" like this US Glare LA-9/p, which was used in Iraq and had the misfortune of being involved in several friendly-fire blinding incidents:

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, it's that small.

    [​IMG]

    rChina's been touting their PY132A recently, but compared to Western designs like the Glare of the UK's TR3 Threat Deterent Laser:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They are often bulky and lack power:

    PY132A
    [​IMG]

    WJG-2002
    [​IMG]

    BBQ-905
    [​IMG]

    These types of lasers aren't for target spotting or causing lethal injuries, though they'll blind both electronics and the MK 1 Human Eye Ball system, and are commonly known by another name - Dazzlers.

    It's all about power, and a bit about ethics, though the big power seem unconcerned with them considering they are using internationally banned non-lethal blinding lasers, and soon we'll miniaturize laser tech enough to cause fatal wounds too.
     
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  4. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    I don't even know if lasers will be even useful, there is nothing wrong with good old led. With lasers you need to deal with batteries and keeping the laser on the target long enough to neutralize it.

    High powered lasers are going to burn through batteries faster than a terrorist can burn through an AK mag. I don't see them being used for another 100 years.
     
  5. Cybermat47

    Cybermat47 2nd Lieutenant

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  6. Atilla

    Atilla Major

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    Hehehe that's what all of the generals think.

    When US Army talks about laser weapons being ready soon they only talk about anti drone and anti mortar lasers I think because that is what the serious programs are on.

    Air borne lasers for air craft will take longer. Maybe they could use the lasers to destroys missiles coming at the air plane.
     
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  7. Cossack25A1

    Cossack25A1 1st Lieutenant

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  8. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    Laser Weapons Ready for Use Today, Lockheed Executives Say

    -boeingcounterUAS.jpg


    But the time has finally come where those weapons are capable of being fielded, according to a trio of Lockheed Martin executives who work on the development of the company’s laser arsenal.

    “The technologies now exist,” said Paul Shattuck, company director for Directed Energy Systems. “They can be packaged into a size, weight, power and thermal which can be fit onto relevant tactical platforms, whether it’s a ship, whether it’s a ground vehicle or whether it’s an airborne platform.

    “So everything exists today,” he said, “it’s just a question of the desire and when is that going to occur.”

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/de...ons-directed-energy-lockheed-pewpew/81826876/
     
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