Space Ramblings

Laser Beams Away!

Well if there’s one potentially good thing that has come out of this war it’s decided advances in weapons technology and while that sounds decidedly bloodthirsty to the pacifists among us and the Kucinich crowd, the reality, bitter as it might be, is that military advances like space advances ultimately translate into technologies that pose a tangible benefit to the public

Of course a plane based laser won’t be one of them but if it works right, it will be pretty cool nonetheless.

“As of this month, the high-energy chemical laser that is the actual weapons portion of the ATL is now installed in a C-130H airplane, a well-proven design taking on yet another new mission. The 12,000-plus-pound chemical laser system is taking up residence alongside a separate beam control system, installed at an earlier date, that functions as the tracking and targeting apparatus.

Sometime in 2008, the ATL is expected to demonstrate its prowess in flight, directing the high-energy laser at what Boeing calls “mission-representative ground targets.” In tests at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., earlier this year, a surrogate low-power laser hit targets on more than a dozen occasions, and laboratory testing of the high-energy laser wrapped up after more than 50 firings, according to Boeing.”

I’m not entirely sure what the benefits of a laser weapon really are on the battlefield, certainly accuracy might be one of them, and a laser travels at a high enough speed that it can make aerial guns useful again, but on the other hand we’re talking about planes that aren’t exactly capable of gunfighting anyway.

Related posts:

Post Navigation

Custom Avatars For Comments
%d bloggers like this: