The U.S. Military Cooperates With Manufacturers to Develop New Laser Pointer Weapons

According to the British “Daily Mail” a few days ago, Northrop Grumman, the world’s largest radar manufacturer, is cooperating with the U.S. military to develop a new laser weapon for the next generation of supersonic fighters, which is extremely powerful. This weapon system is called the Directed Energy System, which is mainly used for the fighter’s self-protection and will be placed in a special device. The US Military Research Laboratory revealed that this system is expected to be carried on the US supersonic fighter jets in 2019 and enter the testing phase.

Directed energy weapons, also called beam energy weapons, use the energy of laser pointer beams, particle beams, microwave beams, plasma beams, and sound beams to produce high temperature, ionization, radiation, sound waves and other comprehensive effects, and destroy or damage targets in the form of beams A weapon. The characteristic of this weapon is that, first of all, the beam energy can travel at a speed close to the speed of light, and once launched, it can hit without waiting time.

Secondly, the energy is concentrated. For example, the output power of a high-energy laser beam can reach several hundred to several thousand kilowatts. After hitting the target, it will be destroyed, burned or melted; in addition, because the laser beam or particle beam is emitted, they are very concentrated. It is thin and sudden, so it is difficult for the opponent to find where the beam comes from, and it is too late to maneuver, evade or confront.

High Power Handheld Laser Pointer Flashlight

In fact, as early as the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century, the US Department of Defense spent billions of dollars in research funding on the development of directed energy weapons. Although the results were lower than expected, directed energy technology has been developing steadily. In 2013, the U.S. Navy demonstrated the ability to use carrier-based tactical lasers to shoot down enemy drones; in November 2014, the U.S. Navy used laser weapons to strike enemy boats at sea for the first time. At present, the United States is rushing to develop the sixth-generation fighter aircraft, which will be equipped with laser and microwave directed energy weapons for close-range self-defense, which is said to be able to achieve close-range “seckill” against enemy aircraft.

This high-tech weapon is most suitable for defensive missions and is expected to be extended to offensive strike missions. Take the anti-missile air defense green laser pointer weapon system as an example. When the long-range early warning radar captures the target, the command and control system issues an attack command, and the laser emits a beam to destroy the target. However, in view of the fact that high-power laser transmitters are still in the research stage and the atmospheric laser “hot blooming” effect cannot be effectively overcome, it will take time for offensive laser weapons to enter actual combat applications.

Compared with the corresponding kinetic energy weapon system, the directed energy weapon has a higher cost-effectiveness ratio. Although the cost of each system is different, the estimated cost per launch is only US$1 to US$20, which is very economical. If there is a new electric drive system that can be charged on site, its ammunition can be greatly expanded, and the survivability of the weapon platform can be improved.

Directed energy weapon systems can be integrated into various air-based, land-based, sea-based, and potential space-based platforms, with extremely strong operational flexibility. Although certain types of directed energy weapons require favorable weather conditions, most directed energy weapons can operate in a variety of weather conditions. In some cases, directed energy weapons have the potential for multi-purpose—both a weapon and a potential surveillance, navigation, and communication device.