It's just a different sort of ammunition
Posted by aogFriday, 12 April 2013 at 12:36 TrackBack Ping URL

Via Instapundit we have this story on military grade lasers. Fluffy until we get to this —

Why this unabashed love of lasers? The concept has inherent appeal: The ammunition never runs out and the need for costly resupply disappears.


The ammunition can run out, it’s just called “out of battery” or “out of fuel” instead. You still need resupply of power (via electrical transmission or fuel). Yes, on a nuclear powered ship it might well be years before this happens, but even those need resupply of their reactors. You still need more vespene gas at some point.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Friday, 12 April 2013 at 17:02
" might well be years..." Umm, well, that's pretty good compared to missiles and bullets which can run out pretty fast.
Annoying Old Guy Friday, 12 April 2013 at 17:22
Not all of the laser weaponry is nucleared powered, though. Some are mounted on gasoline powered vehicles. One might also bring up wear and tear - it would be interesting to know how many shots these devices can fire before the internal wear makes them inoperable. P.S. I certainly see how they could be much better than current projectile weapons in that regard, but that's a lot different than "never run out".
Bret Friday, 12 April 2013 at 17:40
Never say never, I guess.
Jeff Guinn Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 03:44
There are some other problems, though. Anything other than clear air renders them ineffective. Also, an aircraft isn't necessarily defenseless. Since the beam has to track a given spot long enough to cause overheating, then just rocking the wings or doing an aileron roll spread the spot over a far greater effective area. Also, putting space shuttle tile material on the bottom surface of the plane (and not even that much) would probably render the laser ineffective. Yes, it is a lot cheaper per shot, and doesn't suffer from ballistic drop, and the target can't out BFM a beam of light, so it would be a pretty good terminal defense weapon, particularly on ships. Given the limitations, I wondered why the military was broadcasting this. Except, perhaps, to give the mullahs pause to consider whether all of their anti-ship missiles have just been neutered.
Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 07:25
I would presume the target of the announcement was the voting public, in order to encourage further funding.
erp Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 09:29
Jeff, this is unsettling. If the target is missed does the "beam" just keep going until it hits something?
Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 18 April 2013 at 10:12
erp; Yes, but that's no different than projectile weapons. Lasers are better in two aspects in that regard -- # The laser shot completely disappears after firing. You'll never have old unexploded ordnance lying around as you do from WWI and WWII in Europe. # The laser shot doesn't (noticeably) curve down. If it is fired above the horizon it won't hit anything on Earth.
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