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lazboy

Proposed Hercules Laser Gunship

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Boeing announced yesterday that it had fitted a high-energy laser cannon aboard a C-130 Hercules military cargo plane, creating a "Laser Gunship". The company expects to commence blasting "mission representative" test targets next year, firing deadly energy bolts from a "rotating turret that extends through the aircraft's belly".This flying-raygun project is called the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL)

 

The ATL Hercules blaster-weapon is seen as a raygun for every day, zapping things or people during more routine battles as opposed to saving the USA from atomic destruction. This should let it operate closer to its targets, reducing the weight of the system and thus the size of aeroplane required to carry it.

The ATL is a Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL). This means that it uses large amounts of hazmat fuel and produces similarly copious amounts of deadly toxic fumes every time it gets fired. Boeing reckon they have this covered. The ATL's COIL is "closed-cycle", keeping its deadly exhaust products contained. The whole system supposedly weighs 20 tonnes, taking up most of a Hercules' payload.

 

The ATL has a suggested useful ranges up to 10 or 20 km, and power outputs in the 100 kilowatt range - perhaps focused on an area only four inches wide. Chemical fuel capacity for 100 useful blasts has been mentioned, after which the six-tonne sealed laser module would need draining, refuelling with chemicals and liquid-nitrogen coolant and maintenance.

Boeing has stated that the ATL's final US Air Force exam will be twofold, to surgically destroy a communications tower and to disable a moving truck.

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Edited by lazboy

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I think the idea of taking out a lone vehicle with it is the most promising. Zero collateral damage and zero time of flight. Literally if you can see it you can hit it.

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I knew it! There was a -classified- that shot a laser in -classified- and killed a person from -classified- miles up at mach -classified-!

But that's besides the point.

Way to go Boeing!

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Now that is cool - perhaps in 20 years I can have a mini version to stick on my F-16 to take out any incoming missile automatically.

Who is developing the laser blast shields btw?

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whan an light sabre, Darth Wader must be green of envy, when you going to get hit, you get a nice tatoo from the new series of laserprinters from Boeing. :rofl: Way to go...

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the problem with chemical lasers is that they take a lot of, well, chemicals. So it only gets a few shots before its out of fuel. The BMD Airborne Laser with a 747 airframe can only take a handful of shots before its of business and has to come home. Without a completely impractical fleet of specialized tankers, using this technology for tactical applications doesn't sound to me like it will be practical.

 

The airborne laser's niche is for really high value, limited number of targets. I think this will kill any actual use of this.

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Tactical apps will come with the creation of equally powerful solid-state lasers.

 

agree. unfortuneately, that technology together with the power to drive them is still decades away.

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You would be suprised...

 

oh, I know a great deal about what's in the pipeline. A lot of it, though, is pipedreams. I think this is one of the latter.

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Well all new tech has to start somewhere - look how crap the first car, plane, missile, computer, etc etc etc - "its no good because it cant do x y z"! - think its called progress!

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