will have to make do with a koi with head mounted Spyder III Pro 1W laser until this gets more efficient :(
A US military tech project aimed at developing portable, functional battlefield energy weapons has successfully achieved initial goals and is now moving on towards "weapons-class performance levels". The project in question is the optimistically-named Revolution In Fiber Lasers (RIFL), ultimately intended to deliver war-grade …
"..the Reg's apparently large readership of evil billionaires may have to wait a while."
These things can only get cheaper as time goes by so evil millionaires will be able to buy them and will drive up demand. After that, mass production will arrive and they will become commodity items. It's a veritable virtuous circle of villainy.
"for instance the slicing up of tiresome government operatives and/or their saucy female sidekicks while fastened down on a table" Thats not a problem. You can manage with any size laser for that, as long as you can point it where you need you can have the gubbins in another room, and it heat will not be a problem as you can use the sea as a heat sink , or vent it through the crater (Dependant on lair choice, and if you are more of a sub/boat supervillan or helecopter/rocket type).
Its the shark mouning that might be difficult, but it seems we have a little time to work on some form of super shark. A great white shark is clearly to small and a whale shark not aggressive enough. Perhaps some sort of cross bread? Or maybe a megalodon?
China would be wasting money on such efforts since neither the smoke nor the mirrors would buy all that much time. Take the mirror coatings. They're not 100% reflective, especially not on a mobile base which can be exposed to moving air and particulate matter, which means at least some of the energy gets absorbed into the substrate. Absorb enough heat and it'll melt, distort, burn--IOW, your ruin the mirror. The more power you can pour onto it at a time, the quicker your ruin the mirror and really get down to business. As for smoke grenades, have you considered that perhaps a laser can simply burn through the smoke and use the sudden heating of the air to push away any smoke around the beam?
1)Laser confinement fusion looks a *bit* more plausible as the efficiency levels go up and (IIRC) the emission frequency moves down.
2)Space launch by laser also benefits. The classic method uses focused light onto the rear of a highly reflective craft to heat the air behind it (while in the atmosphere). More recent approaches use a high temperature absorber to heat a fluid (usually expected to be Hydrogen) before exhausting it through a nozzle.
3)Laser ignited pyrotechnics should be a lot less prone to electrostatic discharge and lightning in particular. More powerful diodes -> smaller numbers to fire multiple devices. To put this in perspective the space Shuttle had 300 pyrotechnics, of which 100 are routinely fired. Each has 2 pyrotechnic ignitors. All are electrically driven. The Shuttle cannot launch in bad weather at *all*.
4)Evil billionaires looking at a more viable piscine mounted weapon for disciplining unsatisfactory subordinates, secret agents etc.
Make a big fat, attractive target out of paper mache and/or foam, with a suitably large tri-corner reflector embedded inside. First directed-energy weapon to come along will be firing on itself.
Maybe these DE weapons should have a target RCS measuring system before they actually let loose. A sort-of Pre-Fire Tri-corner Reflector Detector (PFTRD).
But then 'The Baddies' (TM) will layer the big fat, attractive target with a foil grid designed to reflect radar signals in the normal dispersed manner, but allow weapon wavelengths to pass or burn through to then be bounced back.
And so it goes...
Perhaps the huge laser equipment could be mounted in the floor above the shark tank, and light-conductive output cables (and trigger switches) can be dangled to the tank and affixed to the sharks.
Certainly there would be some trouble keeping them untangled, but I think two sharks should be manageable, and that's a good start. I dare say it sounds about right for proof-of-concept.
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