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Weaponry - Lasers and Microwaves
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, December 06, 2008

On the laser front, it looks like airborne laser technology is about to get a little smaller and thus able to be deployed on tactical fighters:
American weaponry researchers have awarded a $21m contract for the design and development of a 150-kilowatt energy weapon, high-powered enough to blast missiles out of the sky yet light enough to be carried by a jet fighter.

[...]

In this case, however, the agency isn't seeking pie in the sky so much as rayguns in the sky. The idea of the agency's High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defence system is to make combat-power lasers light enough to put on "tactical aircraft" - that is, fighters rather than great big transports. Present-day rayguns are so heavy that they can only be lifted by C-130 haulers or jumbo jets.

It's nice to put energy cannons in the sky, according to DARPA, because they shoot in straight lines. Anything beyond the horizon can't be blasted, meaning that a laser on the ground can't engage low-flying or surface targets unless they come close.

A patrolling raygun fighter, in DARPA's thinking, would be able to blast bombardment rockets, artillery shells and suchlike in mid-flight across a large region - hence the "area defence" tag. If anyone sought to meddle with the aerial raygun umbrella, perhaps using a pesky anti-aircraft missile, that too could easily be beamed out of existence.

"The capability to shoot down tactical targets such as surface-to-air missiles and rockets will be demonstrated," according to DARPA's programme chief, Don Woodbury.
On another front, the Air Force is developing a new generation of microwave weapons. It is an effort to fry the electronics of the enemy without the nuclear blast which produces the electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) to do that:
The three-year, $40 million Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) aims "to develop, test, and demonstrate a multi-shot and multi-target aerial HPM (high powered microwave) demonstrator that is capable of degrading, damaging, or destroying electronic systems," according to a request for proposals. On the target list: gizmos that are used for "military, industrial, civil, and asymmetrical" purposes.

By the end of the project, the Air Force want to see "five aerial demonstrators. One aerial platform without the HPM source shall be developed for a flight test to demonstrate delivery, controllability, and fusing. The remaining four aerial platforms with the integrated HPM source shall be developed for flight testing, demonstration, and HPM effects tests."
Gizmo wars.
 
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"A patrolling raygun fighter, in DARPA’s thinking, would be able to blast bombardment rockets, artillery shells and suchlike in mid-flight across a large region"

’And suchlike’ would seem to include other aircraft. Odd that they didn’t specify that, since that might be of some importance.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
American weaponry researchers have awarded a $21m contract for the design and development of a 150-kilowatt energy weapon, high-powered enough to blast missiles out of the sky yet light enough to be carried by a jet fighter.
Yes, but will they fit on a shark?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
...Or even an ill-tempered sea bass?
 
Written By: Noocyte
URL: http://noocyte.blogspot.com
timactual, they don’t want to draw attention to the flaw in this plan: if it can shoot down planes, and the enemy has one, their tactical fighter just becomes one more target. If you ever read the "Hammer’s Slammers" series by David Drake, where every tank carries beam-type weapons, including as the cupola machine gun, "Automatic Artillery Defense" basically renders planes of any kind unworkable. The only way artillery remains viable is to put up enough shells that the lasers can’t engage them all. Link to free download at Baen.com here.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://

 
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