Thursday, October 25, 2007

Anti-IED laser weapon ( Aviation Week)

"Boeing researchers say they have demonstrated the company's Avenger mounted laser system can disable improvised explosive devices and un exploded ordinance. During tests at Redstone Arsenal, the 1-kw solid state laser destroyed five types of explosives" That's all it said, no pictures, no more explanations.
Avenger is Boeing's Humvee mounted anti-aircraft system. Armed with guns and/or surface-to-air missiles (SAM) some 600 systems have been deployed. Boeing swapped out the conventional weapons and dropped in a laser for experimental purposes. The system also was able to destroy a couple of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) parked on the ground, not as impressive as blowing 'em out of air, but it does show the laser has enough zap to be dangerous. Presumably the IED's were likewise sitting out in the open, rather than buried under the road, although it didn't say one way or t'other.
Lotta things you'd like to know. Was the laser continuous or pulsed? Was it visible light, infrared, or ultraviolet? How long could it keep burning before running out of fuel or overheating? Does "solid state" mean something like a giant LED shaped into an optical cavity with one end half-silvered? Does "1-kw" refer to power into the laser or laser power out? How efficient is the laser at converting electricity to death ray? Can it run off the Humvee battery or does it need it's own engine generator? Is it worth searching the web for details or is everything classified?

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