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Ray Guns Near Crossroads to the Battlefield [Slide Show]

The Pentagon ramps up efforts to field directed-energy beam weapons for land, air and sea

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REAL RAY GUN

This vision of a ray gun or blaster straight from sci-fi fantasy is not exactly what it first seems. U.S. Air Force Capt. Drew Goettler demonstrates the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response, or PHaSR, a non-lethal laser weapon.....[ More ]

FREE ELECTRON LASER

The U.S. Navy is supporting research on free-electron lasers (FELs) that can produce more than a single wavelength of laser energy, which may help naval beam weapons better penetrate sea haze. FELs rely on a wiggler or undulator, an array of magnets with alternating poles that causes an electron beam to oscillate and so emit a certain wavelength of laser light.....[ More ]

THIN-ZAG

Researchers at Textron Defense have developed a high-powered solid-state, or slab, laser based on what they call their Thin-Zag design. After semiconductor diodes pump photons into the walls of slender ceramic slabs located at the center of the device, a powerful, high-quality beam forms in the special zigzag-shaped lasing cavity that they form.....[ More ]

SOLID-STATE WEAPON

A view of Northrop Grumman’s laboratory test rig, which a few years ago first demonstrated that solid-state, or electric, lasers could produce a high-quality, 100-kilowatt beam, a so-called entry-level, or minimum weapons-grade, power capability--enough to destroy a moving target from a kilometer or two away.....[ More ]

ADVANCED TACTICAL LASER

A specially modified C-130H aircraft equipped with Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) weapon system fired its 100-kilowatt (kW) COIL laser and hit a ground target while flying over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.....[ More ]

BALLISTIC MISSILE INTERCEPTOR

The U.S. Air Force’s YAL-1A, a modified Boeing 747-400F airliner known as the Airborne Laser (ABL) testbed, has successfully intercepted a boost-phase ballistic missile in-flight by firing its high-energy, 1-megawatt (MW) chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) at it.....[ More ]

LASER AVENGER

Boeing’s Laser Avenger, an in-house technology project that mounts an energy-efficient, though relatively low-power, fiber laser weapon and targeting system on a Humvee, has been demonstrated to be effective against visible ground targets such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXOs), and has also tracked three small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) before shooting one down.....[ More ]

ARMY CONCEPT FIELD LASER

The U.S. Army hopes to better protect our troops by fielding in the next few years a mobile, ground-based laser weapon that can zap out of the sky multiple incoming rockets, missiles, or mortars. Live-fire tests of the compact, 100-kilowatt-class, solid-state laser technology’s capabilities for precision targeting and area defense missions are to begin by the end of this year.....[ More ]

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