1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Lockheed Martin's laser weapon can sink a boat from a mile away

By Shawn Knight ยท 22 replies
May 8, 2014
Post New Reply
  1. We've known for some time now that the US military has been experimenting with lasers as a weapon on the battlefield. Such devices could be used to blast drones out of the sky but lately, defense contractor Lockheed Martin has...

    Read more
  2. I'd rather aim at the sailors and save the boat. I think a boat with a .50 cal would defeat a boat with this laser.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,489   +3,485

  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,453   +1,732

    Anybody seen The Avengers? The type of mirror shielding though exaggerated is in fact a feasible defense against a high energy laser.

    If a high energy laser is capable of penetrating a surface, then it needs 10-fold+ power to do similar damage to the same surface covered in highly reflective material.

    And if that's not bad enough, there is high probability that the beam will reflect back at the firing party, resulting in self-liquidation :)

    Remember the coyote trying to slingshot a big rock? ;)
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,489   +3,485

    There is not nor will there ever be a weapon that is indefensible and/or risk free. It all boils down to what's practical. I will admit, however, that I find laser guns boring. The rail guns they've had in development are much more fascinating machines.
    VitalyT likes this.
  6. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,453   +1,732

    I'm a big fan of BFG, fry them all in one shot! :)

    Quote from Iron Man:
  7. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    Mirror shielding is only as good as the mirror quality. And the surface quality of the mirror. A perfect mirror will last longest, but still heat up dramatically over time... And perfect mirrors are damned hard to achieve. Get a semi-perfect mirror, clouded by water droplets and salt water sediment/staining, and you will smoke that mirror in seconds, and then burn right through it.

    This weapon is more deterrent than destruction. It would make more sense on freighters and lesser-armed naval vessels, as another anti-piracy method. Start hitting a pirate's incoming boat with the laser, and it starts to smoke and catch fire, they might re-think their heading. I've seen other versions of this type of laser that were targeting engines to disable incoming evildoers...
  8. Darkshadoe

    Darkshadoe TS Guru Posts: 571   +112

    " It would make more sense on freighters and lesser-armed naval vessels, as another anti-piracy method."

    Using a high energy laser on someone just for downloading a movie is overkill dont ya think? :p:p:p
  9. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 833   +411

    This still has a long way to go before becoming practical though. Steel vs. a laser = the laser doesn't work. It's not easy to set steel on fire. At the very most, some top most components could be damaged.
  10. Point it at a Somali pirates head...pop, tomato!
  11. If humans put as much energy and time into understanding the cause of suffering rather than squandering all their resources in a futile effort to eradicate their relatives in a stupendous denial of their own mortality... they might just come to recognize what the wise have known for eons.
  12. gibbstar

    gibbstar TS Enthusiast Posts: 31

    Modern humans have only been around for roughly 50,000 years, whereas an eon is around half a billion years. So, your statement that "what the wise have known for eons" is not only false, but utterly ridiculous. As for you pondering when humans will understand the cause of suffering, I will tell tell you that I surely have found it in reading your uneducated, bleeding-heart post.
    MilwaukeeMike likes this.
  13. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,453   +1,732

    Meh, Chuck Norris had it like 20 years ago...
  14. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,489   +3,485

    The cause of suffering was identified centuries ago. I'll give you the highly condensed version: nature.

    And that would be?
  15. And where was it written the "wise" were human or necessarily relegated to this planet?
  16. Suffering requires sentience. A rock is never uncomfortable.

    The essence of mind.
  17. This is what Australia needs to fend off boat people!
  18. ralph058

    ralph058 TS Rookie

    Let's see, it takes 30sec against a Zodiac within 0.50 cal machine gun effective range. Just how long will it take against a steel hulled boat?
  19. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,519   +513

    Mirrors have a limit to their power handling capability. While what you see in sci-fi may have some merit, the energy in this laser is likely far greater than most mirrors, even high energy mirrors, can handle. In my opinion, it is better not to believe sci-fi things like this that make for a good story without vetting the science behind it.

    The only effective mirror-based defense against this laser would likely be to employ a coating on the entire ship that is the equivalent of the high energy mirrors that are used in constructing high-energy lasers. These mirrors reflect only a very narrow band of light, and, because of their nature, would cost a fortune to coat on an entire boat. They are different from metal mirrors in that these mirrors are capable of reflecting 99+ percent of the energy at the peak wavelength.

    Aluminum's reflectance is much lower and that is the metal's Achilles' heel when acting as a high energy reflector. Why? Because even a highly-polished aluminum mirror will absorb a portion of the incident energy which will convert to heat, and if the incident energy is high enough, the mirror will melt at the point of contact. In melting, the reflective property will be lost; at that point, it is only a matter of time before the laser burns through the metal. IMHO, no metal mirror would be able to survive this laser since the laser is designed to burn through metal.

    Something that has a much better chance of surviving this is a ceramic like the tiles on the space shuttle. However, I am sure that would present other problems when used as the hull material for a boat.
    davislane1 likes this.
  20. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,402   +875

    then they'll just use it to blind you :D
  21. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    You could kill them with it, but you can't blind them. After WWI it was a war crime to blind enemies. Also, the specific use of laser weapons for blinding was banned in 1980 protocol to the Geneva Convention.
  22. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Colt 45 Gun Corp Plant in CT, had the prototype laser rifle in their showcase. While working on project with them with UPS at the time. That's what I was told by one of their engineers. So I am sure that out being tested since then. Now they have the same tech to use on ships, planes and etc.
  23. That sir, is a great way to power a spacecraft. Have some sort of ablative shield underneath and burn the shield with the laser, thus ejecting a fiery gas in a typical rocket like manner.
    Spacex .. Here I come .. ground based power, overcoming the whole "weight of fuel" problem. This and thermionic Ion motors
    BUT lasers and Radioactive materials .. the nay-sayers would have a field day.
    Space based laser beams (powered by Solar Panels) to power distant probes (Uranus,Neptune possibly extra-solar?) (via "solar" panels) .. yes I'll have some of that.
    If not .. why not ..?

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...