Still feels like an awful lot of energy/heat to be lost from the optics in a weapons class device to me. Still a *lot* of engineering required. Sounds promising for less extreme applications though
OK, so you've done it. You've finally built a high-energy laser which can put out a megawatt-range beam, and it doesn't emit toxic corrosive exhaust or melt itself in operation or weigh a prohibitive amount. Now to revolutionise warfare, right? Well, just hold on there my crazy boffin friend: it's no good trying to hold the …
Even if you're only absorbing a single percent of a megawatt-level beam, that's still a fair bit of heat to extract from a fairly delicate piece of equipment. This is a useful bit of kit, certainly, but it would make a lousy laser turret.
Mirrors and stuff work just fine. Its the laser itself that's the bit that needs the most improvement.
Modern rapid "throw a metric tonne of lead down-field in three seconds" weapons have barrel heat issues too. The solution? Don't shoot as much, or swap barrels in-field (using oven mitts apparently). The new cobalt-based barrel should remedy this, and we'll see if they can find such a solution for lasers too. Until then, keep the shots to less than 1 per 3 seconds (or so :P)
Katyusha rockets are short-to-medium range rocket artillery, not long-range ballistic missiles. As such, they are individually inaccurate, but make up for this by the launcher's ability to throw large numbers of them in the air at once. Add to this the fact that the launcher isn't really very expensive either, so you can have a large battery of launchers all firing at once, which is pretty much guaranteed to overwhelm the laser - a full battalion of the modern BM-21 launchers is 18 trucks carrying 40 launch tubes each, which means you have to shoot down 720 Mach 2 rockets in the time it takes them to travel no more than 40km (20km for standard HE)...
Is it sad that my first thought was of an old sci-fi RPG from my teens called Traveller (I think) with possibly an expansion pack (called High Command maybe?) which allowed for starship combat and featured an optional thingy that could be stuck on the front of your Dreadnoughts allowing for multiple targetting with your primary laser cannon? Or something like that.
Yeah, actually, that is quite sad isn't it.
So TBF the efficiency *is* a bit of a red herring.
This device operates like the 1 bit of an n bit phase shifter in a phased array radar. Note this gets you (in the prototype) to 1.7 deg of your target angle.IE roughly 1/3^3 of the whole angular range. They say then you need a *precision* pointing mechanism to get the find detail.
Not exactly the nano radian precision JPL need for interplanetary laser comms.
And they don't even say if it's waterproof.
Thumbs up as it *is* a V 0.1.
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