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back to article Fridge-sized war raygun for US bombers gets $40m

A long-running US military project aimed at producing a "refrigerator sized" laser raygun capable of being mounted on US combat aircraft has received further funding of just under $40m. Concept graphic showings the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) in action. Credit: DARPA The raygun bomber force knew how …

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Coffee/keyboard

Thanks for that...

"Pew pew pew pew pew pew WARNING OVERHEAT WARNING Aw jeez"

<--- See icon. I'm easily amused.

Mmmm, nasally exhaled tea...

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Happy

Mmmmm!

"Fatal failure in Palin module..."

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Enemy pilots: please attack one at a time so my laser has time to cool

"phase change heatsink technology" means that parts of the heatsink will melt or boil. A far more practical approach would be to aim a couple of watts at an enemy pilot. Normally, blinding enemy pilots is considered naughty, but if the defence contract gets big enough I am sure such niceties will be forgotten.

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Blinding pilots

IIRC using blinding weapons contravenes the Geneva Protocols.

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Black Helicopters

only if it stops the other guys

Yes but, ... so are cluster bombs, landmines, and use of white phosphorous against people, but that hasn't stopped any of the major powers from using them when they felt it would be handy.

In fact, take a gander at which countries steadfastly refuse to ratify bans on same, and you might have a hint as to who might find it rather jolly to employ it on occasion

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Two wrongs

not make a right.

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$39,833,499?

Well, that'll cover lunches, plus the PowerPoint explaining why they need another $150 million or so to reach the next stage of development: a yacht for every executive.

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"phase change heatsink"

Er, ice, or bucket of water > steam ??

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Boffin

SR-71

Can they not do as they did with the SR-71, which dumped excess heat into the fuel to pre-heat it when it was travelling at Mach 3?

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$39,833,499

Couldn't they have rounded that up to $40m?

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Paris Hilton

No

Things sell more when you put a 99 at the end. Duh!

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MJI
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Happy

Pew

Is it

Pew-pew-pew, pew-pew-pew

or

Pew-pew, pew-pew, pew-pew

This questions need to be abswered.

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questions, questions

That's another $20 to answer the question

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Meh

From the article, it's more like:

Pew!

(Cool down! Cool the fuck down!)

Pew!

(Aw shit! It's overheating again. Wait for it, waitforit...)

Pew!

(Anyone got some ice cubes? Liquid nitrogen? Anything?)

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Re: Pew

It should be "Pew-pew, pew-pew, pew-pew..."

Remember: always double-tap ;)

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Coat

Meanwhile...

the RAFs laser goes "Pew, Pew, Barney Mc Grew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb"

Mines the one with the sond effects from the 1951 film "The Man in the White Suit" in the pocket

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Say what you like

But General Atomics is a great name for a company.

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@James Hughes 1

"but General Atomics is a great name for a company."

They've been around since the very nuclear friendly days of the 1950's

They also make various US kill drones. I think they prefer to be called GA these days. It's more "corporate."

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Unhappy

But like US Robotics-

Sadly disappointing.

Heinlein and Asimov rotate unhappily...

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Mushroom

A title is required and must contain atomic waste

No GA isn't a cool name,

NUKEM Limited

www.nukem.co.uk

that's a cool name, especially when you look at what they do....

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Coolest Reg picture ever

^

|

That is all

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Holmes

Curious

What happened to the $166,501 that would have otherwise meant a sum of $40 million USD? I suspect someone already has their yacht.

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Coat

Fridge Sized?

When will they make them shark mountable size?

We need "frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their frickin' heads!

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Boffin

@ Tony.

Please keep up, boffins have already managed to create living cells able to produce laser light, its just a matter of time before we have sharks shooting laser beams out of their frikkin eyes! :-)

(see Living, biological raygun produced in lab)

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And

"Fridge sized" covers a wide range of sizes from the student kitchen big-enough-for-a-couple-of-cans to the humungus walk-in American jobbies.

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Happy

@Arkasha

""Fridge sized" covers a wide range of sizes from the student kitchen big-enough-for-a-couple-of-cans to the humungus walk-in American jobbies."

Built in a America, which size do you *think* they mean?

It'll be the feeds a family of 15 Arkansas hog farmers for a week type.

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Holmes

Obviously

We need bigger sharks.

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Happy

Re: Fridge Sized?

Depends on the shark. Genetically reengineering Megalodon should do the trick and I suspect DARPA are just the lads to do it.

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Coat

Wacky idea:

Can they not just mount the bio-laser-beam-X-man-Cyclops-shark to the plane instead?

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Coat

pharrp

With adamantium teeth to cut through the hulls of the enemies vessels.

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Frikkin' Lasers

Yaaaaaay

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Boffin

Fridge sized

Shirley all they need is to add a fridge-sized fridge to solve the cooling problem?

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Boffin

Switches on Techno-Translator

"High Energy *LIQUID* Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS)"

Gert fuck off and die Squirt/Water pistol then.

Presumably Textron were offering a spudgun.

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@Inventor of the Marmite Laser

you either love it...

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Units

Is that a US refridgerator or a UK one?? Those walk-in american ones won't fit in a fighter, methinks.

Gotta use defined units in these stories.

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Boffin

I see a market ...

... for a dummy tank that burns away in the laser beam to reveal a cube-corner mirror that bounces the beam back the way it came.

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Unhappy

@Christoph

"for a dummy tank that burns away in the laser beam to reveal a cube-corner mirror that bounces the beam back the way it came."

This has a certain anarchic charm. Sadly I think it's for air to air use, not ground attack.

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FAIL

Mods: Can we nuke the mirror idiots?

Moderators, can we nuke all the idiots who always respond to any story about laser weapons with "Hurr-durr, I'll puts me a mirror on my stuffs, hurr-durr-derp!"

Mirrors are NOT 100% reflective. Wide-frequency mirrors are usually doing good to be 90% reflective, and that 10% that they absorb will cause them to become a whole lot less reflective than 90% in a real hurry (as in milliseconds!). The high reflectivity mirrors used in the lasers themselves are specialized dichrotic mirrors that are quite mechanically fragile - they wouldn't last 5 minutes on the outside of ANYTHING. And putting them in a "fake tank" won't work, as the products of melting the "fake tank" will prevent the mirrors from working.

So again, mods: Can we just nuke these silly posters?

(what am I saying: they've not nuked AnIdiotFromMars[0-n] so why should I expect them to bother.)

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Boffin

Milliseconds should be enough

If it bounces back 90% and is rapidly wrecked by the remainder, the amount returned to the source should be adequate to wreck that. The gadget on the ground can be much more robust, have more thermal mass, etc. It's also very much simpler. If it can be wrecked in milliseconds, so can the source, which has lots of complex bits in it.

Obviously the camouflage will be designed to not interfere with the beam too much as it gets blasted - it might take a bit of testing to find the right material, but it's hardly impossible.

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@David D. Hagood

Mirrors are NOT 100% reflective.

Quite true.

"specialized dichrotic mirrors"

If you mean dichromic that's the kind of mirror that splits the IR generated in a cinema projector away from the visible light used to illuminate the film. The "di" means 2 in Latin, not in dye. They are quite robust.

The mirrors in lasers reflect from roughly 97% to above 99%. precise thicknesses of conductors and non conductors. Usually vacuum deposited.

"Anti-reflective" coatings are also interference based and rely on the same technology. Since they are incorporated in camera lenses and sun glasses I'd say they are fairly rugged.

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You do wonder

whether really thick blocks of cooled, highly polished, solid aluminium would do (can reach 95% reflectivity, going up to 99% in infrared). They might last long enough to do serious damage.

Now that would be a cool set-up.

Having said that, scattering by dust and vapour droplets (clouds, steam) hinder lasers, though infrared is much less affected.

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Anonymous Coward

In all these cases .

.the relatively narrow beam would have to hit the mirror (which may or may not be capable of surviving). But the bulk of the target's area can't really be covered with this sort of mirror esp. if heatsinks or solid aluminium mirrors.

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hmm...

Smoke generators???

Most tanks can use the engine to generate smoke, could this be used to reflect/refract the laser beam?

If so the smoke material would also be absorbing the energy rather than the laser.

Will have to be giving the troops pack of cigs again!

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WTF?

/\ oops!

I think I meant tank rather than laser at the end

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blimp

so,

if way gun makes plane 'almost' 100 percent defendable,

why not a blimp.

could carry a large ray gun aloft for a long time,

does not need crew,

and could just hover over battle field ,

just pray not heavy smoke or cloud,

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Black Helicopters

Fridge sized

To the various posters commenting upon "fridge sized":

I'd suggest you look up the sizes of the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm pod and the GAU-8A Avenger (used in the A10-A Thunderbolt 2, a.k.a. Warthog).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M61_Vulcan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAU-8_Avenger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAU-12_Equalizer

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FAIL

Mechwarrior comes to mind...

Warning, heat levels critical... Shutdown imminent... shutting down.... (pilot screams as his plane goes into an uncontrolled dive)

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Anonymous Coward

Thunbs up

For reminding me of those brilliant brilliant games (Well, up until the Microsoft produced ones anyway)

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Refrigerated Mirrors, Then

Hey, if the laser dissipates more heat internally than it sends into its beam - and it can be refrigerated to take care of that... then, a mirror that reflects 90% of what got into the beam can certainly be refrigerated to take care of the 10% that didn't get reflected.

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