Army uses laser to shoot down artillery
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Thread: Army uses laser to shoot down artillery

  1. #1
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    Army uses laser to shoot down artillery

    http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/ptech/1...eut/index.html

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. Army used a high-energy laser to shoot down an artillery shell in mid-flight on Tuesday in a defense industry breakthrough, the Army and the manufacturer said.

    The Army and TRW Inc., which developed the weapon, said in a joint statement that the laser tracked, locked onto and fired a burst of concentrated light energy photons at the speeding shell over the White Sands test range in New Mexico.

    "Seconds later, at a point well short of its intended destination, the projectile was destroyed," the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command said.

    The Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) is being developed by TRW for the Army and the Israeli Defense Ministry. Lasers have been used in past tests at the range to shoot down slower Katyusha Rockets similar to those fired at Israel by militant guerrilla groups in neighboring Lebanon.

    "This shootdown shifts the paradigm for defensive capabilities. We've shown that even an artillery projectile hurtling through the air at supersonic speed is no match for a laser," said Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Cosumano, head of the missile defense command.

    "Tactical high energy lasers have the capacity to change the face of the battlefield," he added.

    Burning up warheads in flight
    The laser was fired from a static testbed in a carefully controlled test, but TRW officials said they looked forward to producing a truly mobile version as the program progressed.

    Tuesday's test -- the first time a laser had shot down an artillery shell -- was part of a new series to determine MTHEL requirements and demonstrate the system's capabilities against a wide range of airborne targets.

    In earlier tests in 2000 and 2001 the testbed focused on the threat of artillery rockets and shot down 25 Katyushas fired singly and in salvos.

    The U.S. military has shot down dummy intercontinental missile warheads in tests both inside and outside the atmosphere using projectile weapons and is also examining the possible use of long-range lasers to burn up such warheads in flight.

    Pretty cool, eh?

  2. #2
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    Hm, yeah pretty cool, but im wondering something, if that laser can make a projectile explode in air, what will it do to humans i you point it at them?

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    Cool? Depends on how you look at it....when it destroys an artillery shell heading towards you, sure it's cool. When it shoots down a civilian airliner with no trace of what exactly happened to it....now that's scary....
    \"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.\" -- Dom Helder Camara

  4. #4
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    Sorry to burst your bubbles, people, but the Air Force and Boeing did this in 1983 from the Airborne Laser Laboratory. They succesfully shot down a sidewinder missle from a carbon dioxide laser mounted onto a KC-135A (similar to a Boeing 707). However, it was considered too impractical for general use and could not fire without an external power source,so the project was axed approximately a year later. However, Scud missles during the Gulf War put the project back on the drawing board and now much more powerful chemical lasers are used.
    For those interested, Boeing has a great site up with lots of stuff you can learn to make you sound smart. You can find it here . It's actually quite interesting... it's no longer science fiction.
    Government is like fire - a handy servant, but a dangerous master - George Washington
    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force. - George Washington.

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    Mahakaal's got a good point,but as long as there's war,I think this is a much better alternative to littering the world with rocket exhaust and machine gun shells.I'm a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason(Uh oh I feel a rant coming on).

    I feel that war,mental illness,and self-destruction are hard wired into us all.Everyone has their breaking points,and when certain ones are crossed,we are compelled to put our lives on the line,and the lives of others on the line to defend that line(whether it's a physical boundry,religious belief,or something else).It's natures way of preventing us from completely overpopulating everything and not having any resources to ensure the survival of our species.All creatures that reproduce at an excelerated rate have this(Lemmings,Rats,and Deer are a few examples).

    There has always been war among humans,and there probably always will be.The more of us there are on this earth the more we're going to push each others buttons,so I think it's a good thing that war is at least moving toward weapons that don't litter our planet.Now if we could just do away with those damn nukes.

    End rant
    [shadow]I don\'t believe in anarchy.If you\'re not smart enough to beat the system it\'s your problem. [/shadow]


  6. #6
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    Regarding the nukes... knowledge is power. But nukes are the most recent example of how a lot of knowledge can yeild a lot of power. Don't forget, that same technology brought us nuclear power, and could also theoretically blow up an asteroid headed for us (haven't you ever seen Arnageddon? geez...). High-powered particle lasers are used in a variety of applications today - such as die-making, and poking those little holes in baby bottle nipples. Now we not only have a laser that can vaporize an artillery shell, but the tracking and radar technology to make it possible.

    This same technology that can be used for warfae could also be used for mining, I would imagine. And when war comes to mind, I don't think anybody cares if we can find an enviromentally friendly way to wage war. The enviroment is, and should be, the last thing on our mind when we're waging war, uunless it destroys the whole planet like nuclear warfare. But fortunately civilian casualties also become a factor at that point.

    Take Windows, for example. Theoretically A great product (I'm not saying anything about the company that owns it...) that runs millions of computers around the world. However, it could also be used to eliminate all privacy on the planet. All knowledge is intrinsically useful to everybody. It's what we do with is that makes it good or evil.
    Government is like fire - a handy servant, but a dangerous master - George Washington
    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force. - George Washington.

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  7. #7
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    And when war comes to mind, I don't think anybody cares if we can find an enviromentally friendly way to wage war. The enviroment is, and should be, the last thing on our mind when we're waging war, uunless it destroys the whole planet like nuclear warfare.
    Actually,nuclear weapons aren't the only things that will wipe out the whole planet.Think about it.Would you want to live in a world where you have to inhale rocket fuel exhaust,various gasses(such as tear gas and nerve gas),and bugs left over from bio weapons,on topmof all the crap in the air already?Do you think this stuff just floats away into space?Guess again.Most of that stuff is stuck on our planet because the atmosphere prevents it from leaving.If people don't start worrying about the environment during war then there won't be anyone left to wage war(or do anything else) eventually.I'm not saying this was the reason the military developed the laser missile defense system,but it is a plus(if there is such a thing with a weapon).We don't have the technology to get to the closest planets with a manned ship yet,not to mention the closest habitable planet(we haven't even found one of those yet),so I think it might be a good idea for people to start paying attention to keeping ours in good shape until we find a way out.You don't use your house for target practicer do you?Well,that's what we're doing on a larger scale with our weapons,but if this laser technology catches on to the offensive aspect of war then it could definately cut down on overall damage done to the planet.

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