back to article Humvee with frikkin laser on it takes out killer robot

US aerospace leviathan Boeing was delighted yesterday to announce that its Humvee-mounted "Laser Avenger" deathray weapon had shot down a small drone aircraft. The Avenger air-defence Hummer, with added raygun attachment Don't come in sight of me, robot. Well, not for too long. According to Boeing: Laser Avenger achieved its …

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Anonymous Coward

Gunflash

No gunflash? Just that huge red beam pointing directly at the humvee.

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Interesting to note

The rocket launcher attached to the same mount as the laser.

Interesting, because it shows the degree of trust the creators have in their laser's ability. Or perhaps it's just for putting the robot planes humanely out of their misery after torturing them with the laser for an hour or so?

I think it's time to call for creation of RSPCR (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Robots).

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Anonymous Coward

What's wrong with "soldiers"?

Is it the etymological connection with France?

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What's wrong with "soldiers"?

On the naming of people who kill the Queen's enemies, "soldiers" does the job .... well, then I suppose the whiny marines, sailors and airmen (and airwomen) would complain.

What about "servicemen"? Ah ... and "servicewomen".

*sigh* Ok, warfighters it is ...

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Boffin

Got the Goose

And in related news a flock of smoking geese were seen plummetting from the sky in New Mexico. Sources on the ground said that the remains of the geese appear to have been bqq'd to a crisp by some sort of heat ray. US military sources declined to comment.

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Go

How do I get that job???

Director of Rayguns - now that has to be a job title worth dying for!!

Though, given the laser coming from the vehicle, surely it won't be long before someone reverse engineers a way for "enemy" laser-guided missiles to target onto it and so destroy said humvee without much effort???

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Pirate

Own goal surely

It's just the Americans (and their feeble-minded friends) who have UAVs armed with bombs. Real terrorists use women and children. Can this zap those targets ?

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Boffin

@AC

Nah, just tune it to the UV or IR ends of the spectrum, then it'll only show up on special goggles. Even better, use microwaves &, as well as zapping UAVs, you can boil enemy combatants in their own skin.

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Go

Are they planning for a civil war?

Since this will only be effective if America has a war against itself, as they are the only army likely to use unmanned air craft.

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Joke

re: Gunflash

Someone's been watching too many movies.

Everyone knows you have to put on a pair of red glasses before you can see the laser beams.

Or peer through a convenient glass of red wine, of course.

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laser avengers

whern't those in command and conquer generals:zero hour about 4 years back?

yes I am a computer games geek

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Happy

Army?

Sorry, what's wrong with Army? Technically correct, still deemed acceptable by the PC-numpties (for now) and a shorter word than warfighters and without the need for an caveat/explanation.

Bargain!

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Happy

Product manager for rayguns

I really hope that's his official title.

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Anonymous Coward

@Vladimir Plouzhnikov

If the laser failed for some reason, would you throw rocks?

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@got the goose

I think you're on to something there... If the warfighters run out of MREs, they can just point the laser at a flock of geese and Voila! Perfectly cooked goose dinners, raining from the skies!

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Re: Are they planning for a civil war?

Not so! Practically every modern army uses UAVs now. The Predator/Reaper etc killbots are in the news, but rest assured that Russia and China have their own.

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jim
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Who else has UAVs?

Very good Boeing. Go to the top of the class.

Can you tell me what other countries have UAVs which you will use this laser to shoot down?

See; a fundamental flaw in your research. I could have saved you $157 million.

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Coat

Presumably they are planning on selling these in the middle east?

As Iraqy Insurgents, The Taleban and Hamas are the only ones under threat from UAVs at the moment.

Mines the one with WTF written on the back.

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Alert

Just waiting for...

The Sharks with frikkin' laser cannons....

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Joke

PEWPEWPEW!

Silent? I thought lasers went PEWPEWPEW!?

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Black Helicopters

@ Rayguns

Please desist with this inaccurate terminology.

Everyone knows that the proper name is deathrays.

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Coat

re: What's wrong with "soldiers"?

Well if they've ended up with egg on their faces and blacked up with marmite, someone who hasn't had breakfast might end up a bit confused...

Mmmm, soldiers...

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@Own goal surely and others

I think you are missing the point. This is tacit admission that the US really, REALLY doesn't want to have armed, autonomous weapons flying over their heads unless they have a way of 're programming' them when necessary.

Might need to coin a new phrase: "silver on blue" and/or "Blue on Silver" to describe such actions.

Why wasn't this filed under ROTM?

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Anonymous Coward

Most impressive..... possibly.

While the feat of downing a UAV is impressive, it was only a standard UAV. Wouldn't it be more useful to have thought one step ahead and tested it against targets with laser armour?

The moment such a weapon is put into service there will be laser counter-measures available to the arms market.

Where does that leave the situation?

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Coat

@Are they planning for a civil war?

Probably! Bush is at this very moment planning to move troops loyal to his cause on the Whitehouse in 'Operation Blanch'.

Oh hang on, someone's knocking at my door. And there are helicopters over my house - I knew my neighbours were up to something. Aaah.

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Black Helicopters

RPGs

The biggest threat of mass casualties in Afghanistan seems to be RPGs...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JIyxOzbCfiU

A Chinook full of soldiers will keep flying after a lucky hit from a rifle bullet. An RPG? Not so much.

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And next week

Boeing are going to attach it to this:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/7/5862480_a519f1d063.jpg

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Who else has UAVs?

No one who isn't already a modern stable power (though they'll always be keeping their eyes on Russia and China).

The real question is; who else might have UAVs in the relatively near future?

Answer:

Pretty much anyone. OK the ones the US and UK et al. use tend to be on the pricey side, since they haven't been around that long. But remember that today's top o'the line models will be flogged to anyone tomorrow and cut prices. After all, pick your favourite crazed rebellious movement and though they may not have the means to run an effective air force, they'll have at least one or two people who can transfer their Playstation skills to piloting these little toys.

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Anonymous Coward

i like

I like the term Cannon Fodder or Meat - as in more Meat for the Grinder.

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Silver badge

Re: Who else has UAVs?

Just today the Russian MOD announced that the Russian armed forces will soon be getting 1 new UCAV every year for 3 years! In just 3 years, they will be able to fly a vic formation!

I'm sure that the US lasergun trials were against 3 UAVs to counter that very threat from the Russians.

@Daffy the Duck: That's what I say - practice your fancy roundhouse kick but keep the shotgun ready.

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Naive

I find pretty naive for folks to think that americans and their feeble-minded friends have a monopoly on UAVs. Anyone with above-average skills, access to the local RadioShack and some time on his hands could build one.

And in any case, the feeble-minded friends (eg. Saddam or the Afghan Mujahedins) have a nasty tendency to become enemies or even join the Axis of Evil club.

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Flame

Whats wrong with...

what the american public used in the late sixties / early seventies? You know the "Pysco Baby Killers" that one.

I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go down in flames for this one. :)

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Re. Who else has UAVs?

Well Iran has them, and has been shipping them to their mates

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/hezbollah-mirsad1-uav-penetrates-israeli-air-defenses-0386/

Like most war tech - once someone works out how to build it, it pretty soon becomes available to anyone with the funds

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Paris Hilton

@ Mark Wilson

> Director of Rayguns - now that has to be a job title worth dying for!!

Damright!

> Though, given the laser coming from the vehicle, surely it won't be long before someone reverse

> engineers a way for "enemy" laser-guided missiles to target onto it and so destroy said humvee

> without much effort???

Indeed; a self-painting target. Which movie was it with the yellow humvee painted to act as ground zero for the laser-guided bomb? Patriot Games?

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Coat

@Whats wrong with...

Erm, nope - that's a pretty accurate description of American soldiers' behaviour in Vietnam so you'll get no disagreement from me.

Mines the one with the floorplan for the HCMC War Remnants Museum (aka Museum of American War Crimes) in the pocket

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Stop

"Warfighters" - eugh

"Personnel" used to be a serviceable word:

"The body of people employed in an organization, or engaged in a service or undertaking, esp. of a military nature"

As did "Warrior":

"One whose occupation is warfare; a fighting man, whether soldier, sailor, or (latterly) airman".

I suppose the British Army killed off the latter term when it built a tank of the same name.

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Boffin

@Snafu

Clear and Present Danger

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Mirrors@?

~Surely your average self respecting UAV pilot would pimp his UAV and make it chrome or mirror finish. blue on multiple reflected laser blue. or even a clusterfuck, now there's a word for the description is it politically correct? who cares.

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Tom
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@Twits

No red beam pointed at the vehicle. First off, the chosen wavelength is most likely going to be IR, UV, or UV+. IIRC the higher wavelengths generate higher energy densities, while the IR is easier to make. Even if the laser were operating in the visible portion of the spectrum they would still be damned hard to see, despite the movies and the newspaper graphics. LASERs don't leak much, so you need to be inline with the beam. Which is sort of a bad place to be when it fires.

As for using the beam for counter-measures, you'd have better odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field in a Tie fighter. The beam is only on while the weapon is firing, which is going to be a very short time. During that time interval, you have to launch acquire the beam and launch the countermeasure, and that's assuming your countermeasure is in the air and active in the first place. If the countermeasure isn't already active, you'll have trouble getting it active before it finishes its firing sequence.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry had to do it....

"This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age..."

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Black Helicopters

@AC

If you were to create a squad/man portable unit, I'm sure that you could design it to take out a human target with less chance of collateral damage.

Since the laser will travel at a line of site, you don't have to worry too much about wind and bullet drop, or shooting at an extreme angle. Just sight your scope in and it will be 'true' at any range.

At least in theory. You still have to worry about dust and debris obscuring your vision and also having an effect on the laser.

The point is that you can take out a target, even with a human shield. What you have to be careful is that they're not wearing a bomb and a dead man switch which will explode when he dies.

(Good stuff for a sci-fi adventure flick... no?)

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Bronze badge

@Gianni Straniero

Actually, the 'Warrior' is a troop carrier, not a tank.

/pedant

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Joke

Army?

What if the soldier lost his/her upper extremities due to an IED or landmine. Would he/she then be referred to as a member of the Leggy?

"Come back here! I'll bite yer knees off!"

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Coat

Pedant

Can one legitimately say: 'kick... arse', without appearing to be one? Especially in an explicitly American context surely the only credible possibility is, 'kick... ass'!

Mines the one... oh, I've forgotten what. Sorry.

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Alien

Terrorist identification

You will be able to identify terrorists. They will be the guys carrying big mirrors.

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Great business move.

Boeing sell laser avenger to shoot down UAVs, while selling UAVs as well. Who gets the commission?

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Boffin

Mirrors

OK, I'm no laser physicist but can't you just coat the UAV in some sort of chrome or mirror finish? Won't that effectively make the laser ineffective?

Also, assuming the mirror coat doesn't work, once this tech gets out and others build it can't the 'enemy' use it to shoot down all the 'friendly' UAVs?

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J
Black Helicopters

Warfighters?

I immediately thought of "warriors". English word, innit?

Maybe it sounds too much like something out a comics or fantasy book, though.

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@Mark_T

"While the feat of downing a UAV is impressive, it was only a standard UAV. Wouldn't it be more useful to have thought one step ahead and tested it against targets with laser armour?

The moment such a weapon is put into service there will be laser counter-measures available to the arms market.

Where does that leave the situation?"

A very profitable (for some) arms race? (hence the flames).

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Coat

What a retarded conclusion

Nice article with extremely retarded conclusion.

1. There is no better way to fry a suspected roadside bomb than a laser. Nice, clean, can be done from safe standoff distance. Same for mines.

2. The thing Boeing and Co keep being very mum about is the use of lasers as anti-infantry weapon. Frying visual nerves and making one blind forever needs less that 0.1% of the energy required to fry a bomb. It can also be targeted in near-realtime on weapon flashes using a fairly primitive gunnery system hooked up to a camera. One armoured vehicle with this, suitable software operating off visual feed and you suddenly have every single one of the enemy "combatants" ready for lifetime disability allowance.

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