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back to article Northrop scoops DARPA laser RIFLe cash

US weaponry goliath Northrop Grumman has landed a contract to develop new, lightweight, efficient rayguns for the American armed forces. The technology push is called "Revolution In Fibre Lasers" (RIFL) and is intended to scale up the amount of power delivered by fibre laser systems. Fibre lasers might offer more efficient laser …

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Boffin

Eureka!

The energy answer is simple:- Merely provide each grunt with a chewing gum generator, as they chew the energy used in masticating a special piezoelectric gum can be diverted to lithium ion batteries which are light and have a good watts/kilo ratio. When in action the adrenalin produced will make them chew more rapidly and with greater force so producing valuable needed energy at just the right time.

In the event of an extreme emergency needing rapid recharge they can just snort amphetamines which will provide the energy boost and increase aggression at the same time.

I would prefer to be paid in gold at the moment please.

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Bronze badge

Super troopers

After reading and making a stupid comment on this article I did a little googling. To produce a 3Kw output with current kit will be quite chunky. Solid state lasers at the moment are about 18% efficient on a good day, so to get the 3Kw output you will need an input of about 15Kw this will require a small leccy car battery pack typically consisting of 36X 4Ah li-ion batteries, an example of one of these is an HP laptop battery to give around 4 hrs runtime .

When you run this lot together, you will need a fan to cool it so when you are charging up your laser to fire don't count on being invisible in IR frequencies and don't count on being able to run very fast carrying a small car sized battery pack.

To be fair, at Stanford Uni and other places there are potential Li batteries being developed that will be as much as ten times better in terms of power density,but that still works out to a lot of battery and carrying spares will definitely slow you down. Perhaps we should try to capture the next Predator that comes hunting on this planet!

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SWEET!

FINALLY I GET MY FRIKKIN SPARTAN LASER!

Took long enough....

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Kinetic energy

Nothing will beat the price/performance ratio of kinetic energy.

There would need to be a major energy source breakthrough to make this feasible.

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Go

Fibre laser?

Do they have to place a fibre optic cable on the target before firing then?

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Anonymous Coward

It'll get there, eventually

50 years ago a computer filled and entire room and had less processing power than a basic calculator. Now you can get that in your wrist watch with a 5-year battery, or many more times the processing power in a hand-held.

It'll get there, eventually.

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Anonymous Coward

.50's

If it weighs as much as an AS50 you aren't going to be running far, you can hardly run with the bloody things!

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Damage

So how much damage could a 3KW laser actually do and from what range?

I'm guessing blinding your enemy is feasible but how long would you have to aim it for to do something more lethal?

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Joke

Waiting for the typo...

Hope they don't end up confusing RIFL with ROFL!

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Flame

@The Mole

A 125mW laser will blind you.

A 3kW laser would cut through you like a hot soldering iron through flesh, depending on the beam width and distance.

If they're worried about power, couldn't they use a small explosive charge to spin a generator? Like in a car engine? They could even use bullets- that way your already-cool laser gun has a backup kinetic energy weapon in case something burns out / breaks / is useless, and you've got a high availability.

Lithium Ion batteries are attractive as they double up as grenades...

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Thumb Up

Simple solution to power problem

Obvious really - fire a magnetised iron slug through a long coil, say about the length of a rifle barrel. That should give you a high peak current for your laser. Power source for this is pretty much standard already. You then have a weapon that shoots iron slugs AND laser beams. Do I get my $4.5 million now?

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