Feeds

back to article Raygun jumbo: 'Long duration' ground blasts begin

Energy weapon maker Northrop Grumman has announced further successful ground tests for the mighty laser cannon installed in America's prototype nuke-blasting jumbo jet. Northrop says that "multiple long-duration, lethal" blasts were fired in ground tests last week, allowing engineers to "tune" the mighty megawatt-range energy …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Bad name

Is it just me or did anyone else read the NK missile (Taepodong-2 ) as tadpole-dong. Not a very big missile then !!!!

0
0
Black Helicopters

i for one

will not be typing a typical "i for one..." comment.

all we need now is for the jumbos to be automated, paving the way for the flying terminator laser-equipped mirror-armoured killbots that skynet needs to take over teh world.

one thing I want to know - when the apocalypse happens and automated killing machines massacre their fleshy masters - do we need to agree to the EULA first?

0
0

I'm melting!!!!!

"Dan Wildt said the laser could easily have kept blazing for longer, but this would have destroyed or melted the ground test equipment."

Classic problem with lasers. The energy of the light beam is a small percentage of the energy dissipated at the source. The very design of a laser ensures this: any light not on the lasing path is discarded.

Oh and by the way, as E.J. Thribb might put it:

A megawatt

Is not a lot

Your average artillery shell definitely produces megawatts

when it goes off. And is actually more efficient than a typical

laser!

0
0
Bronze badge

It works

` When it was test fired it blew up 40 secs from the pad´

You see! the Jumbo laser has been working for 2 years.

0
0
Paris Hilton

Is it just me?

Or do the rest of you giggle like a schoolgirl when you hear the name "Taepodong". Tee hee!

Paris 'cause she likes all Taepodong.

0
0
Thumb Up

Huzzah

Everyone will get their X-Wings by Christmas then?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Here we go...

s/^i for one welcome our .* overlords$//i

crosses fingers...

0
0
Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

So

"North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile is assessed as being capable of reaching the United States. However when it was test-fired in 2006 it blew up 40 seconds off the pad."

So they actually only have 40 seconds in which to launch the 747, get it in range, and take it out before the missile decides that life just isn't worth it and self destructs.

Efros

Paris cos... well just cos...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Should North Korea develop a working ICBM

Perhaps it would be like the one Iran just used to put a satellite into orbit and could quite easily hit Europe or Israel?

0
0

uses of learning

yes indeed. i've said it thousands of times before and i'll say it again... (even though it's most likely to never be posted up, as per usual, because people don't want to hear the truth.. are you listening el reg?).

/sarcasm

what excellent and wise use of science.. to find better and better ways of KILLING people.

IDIOTS. anyone who doesn't understand that life is sacred and precious, and that nobody has ever had the right to take the life of another, has an awful lot of learning and understanding to do.

understand this: what ye sow, so shall ye reap. geddit?

0
0

Alternative explanation

"However when it was test-fired in 2006 it blew up 40 seconds off the pad"

Or was it a test of an earlier iteration of the laser?

0
0
Black Helicopters

frikin lasers

Interestingly,Lockheed Martin has a concept for a waterbourne attack vehicle that it calls CHARC for Covert High-speed Attack and Reconnaissance Craft

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/10/lockheeds-swath.html

Does that mean we're going to see CHARCs with Frickin' lasers anytime soon?

0
0
Black Helicopters

just blew up did it ?

That North Korean missile just blew up 40 secs after launch, perhaps the yanks already have the damn thing working and have been keeping it under them rather warm cowboy hats

0
0
Alert

Freakin' Lasers!

I want to know when the Shark Mounted version will become available.

0
0
Coat

...blew up 40 seconds off the pad...?

So the NSA already has working orbital laser satellites?

Mine's the one with the overdue copy of "Real Genius" in the pocket.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

And on the topic of technology convergence....

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/18/darpa_self_aware_tanks/

High energy airborne lasers under the control of introspective robots... hmmm, what a nifty idea. There wont even be a power cable you can sever.

Concerns aside I am intrigued to know how achieve a nice collimated beam after bending it (and likely introducing some dispersion) in the nose targeting device. Getting it nicely collimated in the length of the 747 is not an issue, its just bending it using some kind of flexible waveguide that seems really challenging.

Although I suspect the US approach is just up the power of the laser so the energy flux of the dispersed beam is the same as a lower powered well collimated one...

0
0

Retroreflectors!

Or did they ban blinding pilots with lasers?

0
0

Blowing up on the pad

"North Korea's Taepodong-2 missile is assessed as being capable of reaching the United States. However when it was test-fired in 2006 it blew up 40 seconds off the pad."

Much like the early test firings of the first American rockets, then. Watch "The Right Stuff" or any good documentary about the early years of the space race to see lots of clips of American rockets lifting slowly and majestically off the pad, then blowing up in a variety of amusing ways.

In any case, the recent successful Iranian satellite launch used North Korean rocket technology, so don't write off the Tadpole-Dong 2 missile too soon!

0
0
Silver badge

@Sillyfellow

"what excellent and wise use of science.. to find better and better ways of KILLING people.

IDIOTS. anyone who doesn't understand that life is sacred and precious, and that nobody has ever had the right to take the life of another, has an awful lot of learning and understanding to do."

Uh, Sillyfellow ... This thing is NOT designed to take lives. It is designed to prevent the taking of lives by blowing up WMDs BEFORE they reach the target. You really are a silly fellow, aren't you?

0
0

@Sillyfellow

High-powered lasers are far from being effective offensive weapons. Their primary merit is as light-speed defensive weapons for the interception of missiles, artillery shells (yes, artillery shells--Google THEL (Tactial High Energy Laser--a ground-based system) if you don't believe me), and things of that sort; defensive weapons which are faster on target and miss less than, say, Phalanx CIWS, and which have better range.

Attacking and killing people, buildings, or vehicles is, as yet, best done with simpler, cheaper, more reliable devices with greater destructive yield--missiles, bombs, shells, bullets. A few megawatts is a lot for a beam of coherent light, but it's peanuts compared to the explosive yield of, say, a hellfire missile, and much harder to deploy.

The point of things like the ABL system is to be able to reach out at the speed of light and blast a missile out of the sky so it *doesn't* kill anybody.

0
0
Coat

I'm going to invest in chrome plating businesses

Mine's the shiny laserproof one.

0
0
Stop

@Sillyfellow

Awww how cutly naive. Human kill. Humans have always killed. Humans will always kill. Killing is what makes us what we are and what makes us evolve. However this specific wapon isent for killing (which i suppose you overlooked in the rush to condem weapons). It is actually m designed to prevent other deadly weapons from doing there job. So if anything you, should you actually belive in the no killing approch to humanity, should welcome weapons tech like this if not hail it as the tool to save us all.

0
0
Silver badge

@misc. folks investing in mirrors/chrome ...

Mirrors are easily heated by this kind of laser ... as is chrome plating. As is pretty much everything else that mankind knows how to make portable. That's kind of the point ...

0
0

@Cap'n Thyratron

"The point of things like the ABL system is to be able to reach out at the speed of light and blast a missile out of the sky so it *doesn't* kill anybody."

That rather depends where the bits come down.

Although an explosion at altitude is probably preferable to one on the ground, a weapons-grade fissile material shower is best avoided at any altitude.

Steve

0
0
Thumb Down

Another....

Piece of junk which never will become useful. This thing has range of 200 - 400 km. In order to get that close, you have to fly into enemy's airspace and everyone and their grandmother has weapons quite capable of blowing big 747 out of the sky.

So what to do? Send a flight of fighter/bombers to blast all defences, blow all airfields and blaze a route for Jumbo-Raygun to safely approach its target, so it can sit there and wait if they launch?

In short, start a war.

If you are going to start a war anyway, you might as well send a single B-2 with a single Mk-82 bomb and destroy the missle on the launchpad. No testing needed as iron bombs have very predictable effect on ICBMs; They destroy them.

Or is this too simple? Not enough buttons to be cool?

0
0
Flame

You can't fight here - this is the war room!

@ jake and Captain Thyratron.

Well, that's the problem with an arms race, isn't it? Use nifty technology to eliminate one side's potential threat, and all of a sudden they start feeling exposed and getting nervous and twitchy. Can't think why.

Until the unthinkable happens and all humanity's atomic weapons are turned into tractors, can't we just stick with the comforting warmth of Mutually Assured Destruction? We'll just conveniently ignore for a moment the fact that as a defense policy MAD was totally insane, but that's by the by. The moment that anyone starts thinking that a nuclear exchange might become "winnable", everybody loses. Airborne raygun fleets and missile defence shelds won't make us better, or safer, people.

0
0

First test?

Apparently the North Koreans are planning a test shot of their new long range missile soon, so there's the perfect opportunity to test this...

OK, maybe not, but this system is worth developing because it is mobile, deployable in short order to any part of the world and can be used anywhere the USAF can achieve air superiority (eg most places and especially Iran or North Korea). It also has the significant benefit of not pissing off the Russians by stationing missiles in Eastern Europe.

0
0
Happy

@Captain Thyratron

On the whole I agree with your reply to sillyfellow (and Jake's, too) but wish to point out a common mistake you have just repeated - just because something is a far from effective offensive weapon will not stop some blaggard using it to "persuade" someone to let him take what is not his.

The thing that always makes me giggle when I hear that Ploughshare (the "make farming implements, not war toys" bunch) have been protesting is that they seem to have forgotten what the original purpose behind the sharp bit on the plough was...

0
0
Stop

Guns don't kill people, rappers do......

Sillyfellow has the right sentiments, even if what he said is a bit random, more specifically.....

We have a weapon to shoot down your weapons, you cannot shoot our weapons down so behave or we'll kill you (because there's no way to stop us).

Science lets us say this, if you think that this laser is a "passive" or purely defensive weapon then you are mistaken, tactically it empowers all offensive weapons by rendering the enemy weapons redundant.

Readers of the reg usually think a bit deeper than just taking a cheap shot, but hey it's Friday.

0
0
Heart

Ploughshares into swords

@ Jeff Rowse

"... what the original purpose behind the sharp bit on the plough was..."

Tilling the soil, perhaps? Maybe you're thinking of the fact that early iron ploughshares were turned onto weapons in time of war, as iron was precious and scarce. Of course, the earliest sharp bits on ploughs were wooden. Just because something's sharp doesn't mean that someone has to get stabbed by it.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.