Who wouldn’t want a ray gun?
The military aims to turn lasers weapons from science fiction into reality for everything from space platforms to Humvees.
“RELI” is the Department of Defense’s relatively new Robust Electric Laser Initiative, which is meant to create next-generation lightweight, compact laser weapons.
Weaponized lasers will bring nearly instant, extremely precise strikes to the battlefield. And with “deep magazines” of laser-ness, they remove the worry of running out of ammunition. Plus lasers can be calibrated to the scale of the threat, ranging from a non-lethal blow through to taking out a missile.
How does it work?
There are lots of different types of military lasers. The RELI program focuses on solid state ones – so called because they have a lasing medium that is solid crystal.
Lasing is the process that gets light particles excited enough to emit a particular wavelength. On their most basic level, lasers work by getting photons stimulated, concentrating them using something — in this case a solid like a prism — and then directing them into a beam.
The biggest leaps in solid-state laser technology have been made through the U.S. military’s Joint High Power Solid-State Laser (JHPSSL) program, which has ignited some major headway in this sort of tech.
But Boeing has also been making progress in other sorts of military laser weapons. Notably, the company was awarded a U.S. Navy contract to develop the Free Electron Laser weapon system to build an ultra-precise laser gun to defend U.S. ships.
Also under development for the US Navy, the Mk 38 Mod 2 Machine Gun System with Tactical Laser System soups up a gun already deployed worldwide with a solid-state, high energy laser weapon.
Full article: Laser weapons inch closer to battlefield (Fox News)