A Pentagon science-advisory panel's report on the near-term prospects for American raygun weapons has declared that energy-beam blasters would be pretty handy but difficult to make. The document in question is titled Final Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Directed Energy Weapon Systems and Technology …
Read it fast like I did....
directed EMP slow go?
it seems, having read somewhere, but it being too close to lunchtime for me to track the source down, that although the US DoD is nay-saying the ray-gun, private enterprise may be just as slowly getting there.
there are persistent rumours that an EU citizen in 2006/7, unhappy with a bank-loan refusal, later visited his branch - joined the queue, placed his heavy briefcase on the floor, at which point the lights and terminals went out -.
Allegedly it took 6 months to review the videotapes, put 2 + 2 together and do a global war on terror rendition of the loser to the nearest plod-shop. His home allegedly had a soldering iron and a capacitor and other death-ray components.
I think there are legs in the technology, a bit of 95GHz and laser leader ionisation and a vircator or two and we're back to single core Abaci and El'Reg in hand-set movable type
Slashdot comment bugs me, the anthrax thing
This was the first I'd heard that the 2001 anthrax attacks were traced to US military labs.
I see the FBI started to investigate the people at Fort Detrick:
Then concentrated on a man named Hatfill, who looks like a scape goat to me.
(Hadn't worked there since 1999, so he must have had the anthrax, a way to handle it and a way to store it, yet they didn't find evidence to charge him? Not bl**dy likely. He would have had to have Anthrax handling lab capabilites and you don't hide those easily.).
Likewise the 'stolen' idea, are you seriously telling me that Anthrax can be stolen from a military lab just after 9/11?
So what happened there?
We prefer the term "Torture Ray"
Rather than deal out death, it makes more sense to cook our enemies according to weight. For example, for the smaller, more compact Chinese, a low power microwave weapon is ideal while larger Iraqi suicide bombers would sizzle satisfactorily with a more powerful Torture Ray system. I wish you foreigners would get the facts right.
Made in Britain
Wasn't there a project called British Unstoppable Great Gun, Energy, Reusable - BUGGER ?? Presumable the MoD cancelled their funding when they were asked for the name of their project and they answered in acronym !!
Sci-Fi blink blindness
The problem is everyone born since the 1930s has been brought up on sci-fi where invariably every spacecraft uses a beam weapon, therefore it must be the way to go. For example phasers in Star Trek, but at least they also had photon torpedoes - now that's where it's at!
@"Well, you could've fooled us on that last one"
I don't see the problem there. The report said "interest in such systems has declined over the years". All this proves is that, while interest in death-rays has fallen, interest in government pork remains at an all-time high.
@Sci-Fi blink blindness
But beam weapons would be great, as there is virtually no lag between firing and hitting your target, assuming it is within a reasonable range (Speed of light and all that). Enemy gets no notice of their impending doom.
Of course you could just cover all your enemy missiles and planes in reflective material countermeasures, and watch the laser ricochets take out random cities on the ground... maybe we need to think this through...
Grab you lab coats boys!
"The most fundamental issue... is the need for cost/benefit analyses... The lack of cost/benefit analyses inhibits the effective use of currently programmed resources"
O Great Accountants directed Research. Get out boys, Get out NOW!!!
Directed Energy Weapon
A directed energy weapon unveiled by the Corporation for Space Transportation proposes using their directed energy device for space mining but it could be throttled to go from stun to molecular melt down.
The US DoD has been focusing on little things like power supplies and output instead of the materials to make it possible. Accountant and marketing-driven engineering will be the unemployment of us all.
...what, you're saying my hand phaser isn't real? But the little battery indicator is showing full charge! Maybe it's just bloczzzzt
Don't forget railguns
Make the bullet go fast enough and the people behind it will stop crying that they had to actually move mass toward the target to destroy it.
And another expensive military fad dies
I remember in the seventies the big thing the Pentagon and KGB were into was PSI research - telepathy, telekinesis, astral travel - all the stuff that is now the province of the new-agers and tinfoil-hat crowd. Back then, the USSR was pouring mega-roubles into weaponising psionics research, so the Pentagon did the same thing just in case the Russkies came up with something dangerous. Of course, nothing ever did; psionics was never successfully demonstrated, let alone shown to be usable as a weapon, and once the accountants twigged that a lot of teacup-reading charlatans were making fortunes out of defence budgets the whole idea was bagged on both sides.
Just as the sci-fi engendered psionics research fizzled, so too will this sci-fi engendered debacle; a few ray-gun charlatans will be very rich, and our soldiers will be back to good old-fashioned gunpowder-propelled lead.
Bloody big ZZZAP!
It isn't more accountants we need it's much bigger lab's. The universe is full of perfectly functioning death rays, the trouble is they are usually emitted from galaxy sized quasars and black holes. So, all we need to do is get one of them into a decent sized lab and examine it, copy the technology and ZZZAP!