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back to article US spontaneous human combustion raygun video released

US-based arms'n'airliners globocorp Boeing has released video of its aircraft-mounted ray cannon, the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) in operation. The company doesn't say how far the carrying Hercules transport plane was from the target vehicle in the vid, but there's no audible engine noise on the soundtrack, suggesting that …

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Silver badge

Why?

Thirty years ago we had the technology to make cars burst into flames. Or houses or anything with visible combustible material that you could fire a relatively low power portable laser at.

Why now - does the construction industry hope that a lot of techno-arsonists are going to be inspired to take down cars and buildings at a distance so they can expand their markets?

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Coat

silent yes, inviisble yes

traceless ? Er the only people with one are the SOC so guess who fired it !!!

Minds the mirror coated one

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opportunities abound

"The ATL has no such clearly-defined purpose"

Well, it could be used as a mobile industrial paint stripper, the video is a good advert, but would there be a market for this.

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Grenade

Too many cynics

The people who knock the idea of laser guns are probably cut from the same mould as the army commanders in WW1 who rediculed the idea of aircraft because they didn't fit into the battle strategies of the day. Once the laser gun is perfected it'll revolutionise (probably not in a good way) warfare. Whether that takes 5 years or 50 , it'll happen and when it does all those kinetic energy weapons (ie guns) will become obsolete overnight except for special scenarios where they have they'd advantage (I can't think of any but theres probably a couple).

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Happy

But.......

Can I get it fitted to my Frikkin sharks?

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Ru
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RE: kinetic energy weapons (ie guns) will become obsolete overnight

Hardly. They've proven to be a robust, reliable, highly effective, easy to manufacture and easy to maintain device. They're going nowhere any time soon.

What is far more at risk are missiles, light artillery and aircraft; things which are most vulnerable to laser devices. Tanks and even battleships could easily see a resurgence with laser-oriented warfare; but the guy on the ground won't be able to hoof around the power supplies and precision sensor and targetting systems necessary to take advantage of lasers, at least to the point where they'd be more useful than conventional firearms.

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Silver badge
Welcome

welcome

to our car bonnet burning overlords

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Syd
Heart

Where is the "Hopelessly Idealistic" Icon?

If we invested the same amount of money in trying to invent a replicator, that we have in attempting to build a phaser, perhaps we wouldn't need so many wars.

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Happy

Silverlight

The death ray - often sold, never delivered

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FAIL

That was rubbish.

At least Auric Goldfinger's laser could cut a 00 rated agent in half.

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Grenade

Next up on Channel 4...

Cops with camera's with Frikkin Lasers....

On a semi serious note, could be good for taking out car tyres and other objects

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Bit naff

Not exactly impressive. This looks more fun...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJot9WKybQE&feature=related

Probably cheaper too!

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FAIL

@Syd

I know you'll probably never grasp this, but your point of view is incredibly myopic and belies a complete misunderstanding of how R&D and politics work. First off, I doubt you're right - even if you assume that a few billion has been spent getting laser weapons to this point, that amount still wouldn't have solved the considerably more difficult problem of a replicator. And without a massive power source, a replicator still wouldn't solve any resource conflict issues.

And beyond that, take a look at the wars that have happened in the last hundred years - how many have been over politics, religious ideology, or stupid misunderstandings (World War I, I'm talking to you), and how many over legitimate conflict about resources?

Yeah, if the world had unlimited power generation capability and a 'replicator' (by which I presume you mean something in the Star Trek vein) there'd have been some mitigation in conflict. But I think you'll find that human nature means that the desire for power and the conviction that others don't have the right to hold different beliefs has a far more powerful effect on war than mere practical issues.

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@boltar

There's nothing wrong with the idea of laser weapons. (Well, not in a military way anyway. They're not good for many other reasons, but then that's the nature of weapons research.) The problem is the implementation. It's taken a very large amount of money (2002-2005 is quoted at $180m, and it's fair to guess that 2006-2009 would continue that trend) and a very long time (2002-2009) to produce something that still can't be used for any practical military purpose.

The problem is also the application. Putting something like this in an aircraft to shoot jeeps really doesn't seem a good use of it. It seems to me that the best use would be as an alternative to the existing anti-missile defences of Phalanx guns or Patriot missiles. A laser could target the incoming missile more effectively than either of those, and a ground-based or ship-based installation solves the problem of having limited chemical fuel for the laser in a C130. So instead of being an offensive weapon, it becomes a defensive shield. Trouble is that this doesn't sound so cool as the death-ray concept. And of course that assumes that your opponents are going to be lobbing missiles at your ships or at some ground locations. It's sod-all use against opponents fighting at the IED and AK-47 scale of things, of course, but then the death-ray doesn't work against them either.

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No pew pew noise

= fail

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TRT
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@Syd

Yes, but then you'd be able to replicate a phaser.

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Black Helicopters

Does it work?

Does it work in the rain? Snow? Fog? Smoke?

Does it work against brick, concrete, stone or mirrors?

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Black Helicopters

Why a laser?

Simple: Because in space, no one can hear you scream. ;-)

If you don't get it, then you've never thought about the velocities and distances space warfare will occur. And yes, while we are not yet at the point of cheap economical space travel, space based weapons are an issue today and will become more of an issue tomorrow.

On a more positive note, this might also be used as a tool to clean up space debris, which too is a very dangerous problem. Ok, maybe not this chemical laser, but I also believe that there is work on a solid state laser too? ...

With respect to the use of a laser on earthbound targets... You have a laser traveling at the speed of light, so the target is always in the line of sight. (No need to lead the target, no need to worry about wind drift ...) Of course not a cheap way to kill a target but that will change in the future.

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@ru

"Hardly. They've proven to be a robust, reliable, highly effective, easy to manufacture and easy to maintain device. ."

So were bows and arrows. Whats your point?

>warfare; but the guy on the ground won't be able to hoof around the power supplies and >precision sensor and targetting systems necessary to take advantage of lasers, at least to the >point where they'd be more useful than conventional firearms.

Why is it some people just can't think beyond the present day? Do you honestly think in a few decades time there won't be a far more powerful and efficient method of supplying electricity that current LiON batteries? FFS, expand your mind and see the possibilities.

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@syd

"If we invested the same amount of money in trying to invent a replicator, that we have in attempting to build a phaser, perhaps we wouldn't need so many wars."

Yeah , because no one would ever use one to replicate guns.

Oh sorry , you thought all wars were about food and money? Aww , bless.

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Bronze badge

That was it?

Somewhere a little Michael Bay is crying.

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Anonymous Coward

@Bit naff # By Liam Johnson

OK point taken, but you'd never get that onto a frikkin shark.

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Bronze badge
Go

Today...

"defeated" a stationary vehicle in tests"

Tomorrow... the world mmmmwwwwwahahahaha / Strokes cat * cough * hahahahahahahahaha

*cough* *cough*

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Grenade

Reflective paint anyone ?

Reflective paint anyone ?

The stuff with glass microspheres, that reflects at 180 degrees.

Back at you C-130.

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'kinetic weapons'

...will always be useful surely?

If you and your enemy are in line of sight and shooting lasers at each other it's going to be a short battle.

You can't fling a laser over the horizon and the next release of 'scorched earth' would be crap

Just a thought

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CC

Video Farce

The video is a farce.

First, the flame is blowing as is the smoke but looking at the surrounding plants and vegetation there was no wind blowing at the time.

The flame is burning up through the hood and not down which means the heat source us under the hood not above it.

And on and on.

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Distance

"The company doesn't say how far the carrying Hercules transport plane was from the target vehicle in the vid, but there's no audible engine noise on the soundtrack, suggesting that it was some distance off."

Did they say that it was flying? I'm imagining it sitting right next to the ve-hickle

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Anonymous Coward

you've got to laugh

"defeated" a stationary vehicle in tests - stopped it dead in its tracks, did they?

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Joke

Tomorrow... the world mmmmwwwwwahahahaha

Tomorrow... the world mmmmwwwwwahahahaha / Strokes cat * cough * hahahahahahahahaha

*cough* *cough*

Hairball?

El Reg needs a "sick bucket" icon

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kit
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Demonstration

It is a demonstration of how high energy physics and microelectronics advance through all these decades. Started as laboratory device evolves into an airborne weapon with self sustained power supply , plus the state of the art electronics airborne targeting system. Hell knows how much money had spent on this monstrous weapon.

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mirrors

surely this has been talked about in other death-ray articles. But last I checked the mirror would have to be perfect to survive a blast from the ray since imperfections will trap the heat from the laser. I imagine the same rule would apply for reflective paint. So it doesn't reflect it but it will slow its effects which may be all thats needed

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Unhappy

Ah so thats why!

So I am watching an american movie with Iranian subtitles then blamo!

the TV signal gone.

So even when watching nothing political I am sure even the civilian populace will be very upset that the airforce is disrupting their noon time soap operas.

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Just a thought....

Inverse Square Law......

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Grenade

Brilliant!

Better yet, have a missile attack where the first missiles are duds that are covered in retroreflectors (or reflective paint).

The defense system shoots the duds, probably destroys the duds, but the duds reflect enough energy back at the defense system (Given spread and slight variations, it'll be enough to destroy the laser housing instead of going back into the chamber. And after the defense has melted itself, shoot the REAL missiles.

Frankly, this would be much better served in destroying a house using popcorn.

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flash-fried food for thought

This is mostly spacebattles-related, though it covers the physics of laser weapons quite well, including all the little things that make them so complicated, expensive and rather inefficient. Some USAF laser-turret Jumbo data there, too.

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3x.html#laser

(an excellent site, really)

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This post has been deleted by its author

WTF?

Strangelove, indeed

So long as those nasty inbound ICBMs remain stationary and have a big tape square on them, I think we can all feel safe now.

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3 words

POINT. DEFENCE. LASERS.

effective anti-missile technology.

ships (type 45 destroyers as an example) with these instead of a much slower to launch missile system?

if you can do it solid state as well, a nearly limitless anti-missile capability (while it has power, life of the components etc etc)

on a less serious note,

this + disco ball = mutually assured destruction.

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Eh...

Bit weak, innit?

I'll wait for version 2.0

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Happy

@Neal 5

"Well, it could be used as a mobile industrial paint stripper,"

Your a bit behind the curve. Various local authorities use various laser systems for graphitti removal. IIRC they have to be visible so the paint absorb and vapourises. Last demos I saw was green (Ar Ion?) .

Obviously their aim is maximum absorption in the surface (paint) layer. But this thing did not seem togo much deeper. Now if we saw what happened under the hood...

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Fight sci-fi with sci-fi

Bring on the ablative armor. Something that absorbs a lot of heat in boiling and produces a lot of dark ash in burning would hold off these momentary bursts of energy without weighing too much. A liquid wicking through a porous surface could even solidify over burns to heal them. The defenses seem to be a lot simpler than building a bigger laser.

I have my safety goggles on.

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Looks like a fund raiser....

Times are hard, even for the spook n' gook brigade - got to show SOMETHING for the billions invested (ahem) so far: A careful application of black powder, a light spray of paint, ignite from under the bonnet and presto! "The killo-zap-ray really works, honest. Can we have some more cash please?..."

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Not bright enough.

The flames arent hot enough to defeat military hardware. Looking at the colour and brightness of the "flame" it simply isent that hot. maybe it can shoot trough a tinfoil hat but not much more.

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