chinese laser weapon development

ougoah

Senior Member
Registered Member
Anti-drone lasers are the only sensible way to go. Shooting down $50 drones with $50000 missiles is one way to lose a war and an economy. Most armies use bullets but lasers are cheaper and add another option of dealing with pesky small drones that must be shot down one way or another. 30KW is more than enough to damage it and blind its optics. Even a few watts is enough to do the latter at kilometre long ranges. 30KW is total overkill for small drones. We're not talking about Predators here. There are HQ-16s and HQ-17s for those.
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
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Boeing's HEL-MD is mounted on a similar platform as the LW-30 and only has a power output of 10KW. However, it can perform the C-RAM mission just fine. This led me to believe that the main obstacles to destroying fast-moving and/or hardened targets are precise tracking and high beam quality. As the Boeing engineer stated in the interview, the HEL-MD can focus a pencil thick ray of light on a target as small as a mortar round for long enough duration to detonate the explosives within.

The Silent Hunter laser first unveiled in 2016 actually has a higher wattage output than LW-30 (peak power of between 30 and 100 KW). However, it can only engage drones and small vehicles because, as one engineer stated in an interview with Janes, they are improving the tracking system so that it could perform C-RAM operations.

A laser in the 5KW range is sufficient for IED removal or targeting small, plastic drones, as the Guorong-I demonstrated.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
Yes. But that was a chemical weapon and cannot be scaled down to the same size as a solid state or fiber optics laser like LAWS or LW-30. It also consumes toxic chemicals and has a limited number of shots instead of relying on cheaply generated electricity.
THEL was a scaled down MIRACL. It was a "military grade" laser, 100 kw+.

Still produced wildly toxic crap: the laser used deuterium (mildly toxic) and fluorine (wildly scary crap). The only stuff fluorine won't burned are compounds already fluorinated. So, all plumbing had to be coated in teflon. Teflon wears out rather easily and especially at points of friction, like, oh, say valves. HELSTF had a fluorine fire once. They went on bottled air and let it burn out. You can't extinguish it. Throwing water on it makes hydrofluoric acid.

Fluorine also ain't cheap as well as being scary. MIRACL tests used to soak up a vast amount of the fluorine on the market.

Originally, MIRACL was supposed to go on a Navy ship (originally a Navy program). Congress made them put it in the desert at WSMR and established HELSTF. I have to shudder at the thought of fluorine at sea.
 

siegecrossbow

Brigadier
Staff member
Super Moderator
clear skies in the attached vid LOL my favorite question is if tens-of-kW lasers wouldn't have problem in weather conditions like in:
The funny thing is that radar doesn't work well either when there are serious weather conditions. Point defense missiles and even radar guided CIWS will take a performance hit in roiling seas.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
good weather in the attached vid LOL my favorite question is if tens-of-kW lasers wouldn't have problem in conditions like in:
Depends on the wavelength, blue-green lasers can pass through water better, but they have more issues with the atmosphere. There's a window in the mid infrared where light can pass relatively easily. Stress relatively. For any sort of realistic laser weapon, you need 100+ kw. The US military has known this for decades and that's why they even called 100+ kw lasers 'weapon grade.'

The lesser powered lasers you see now are part of a path to move forward to get a weapon of sorts that can be upgraded into the arsenal. The Army has far more success getting an existed weapon system upgraded than it does introducing a new one. Get something in, make it marginally useful and then get it to full usefulness. It can kill drones for now at short range and possibly mortars. Once it hits 100 kw, it can take out 155mm rounds, missiles and aircraft.

That said, lasers will never solely be able to replace all the other air defense weapons: you're still going to have guns and missiles. As you noted, weather is an issue. However, their cost savings when it is not inclement, is enormous and well worth it.
 

Jura

General
Depends on the wavelength, blue-green lasers can pass through water better, but they have more issues with the atmosphere. There's a window in the mid infrared where light can pass relatively easily. Stress relatively. For any sort of realistic laser weapon, you need 100+ kw. The US military has known this for decades and that's why they even called 100+ kw lasers 'weapon grade.'

The lesser powered lasers you see now are part of a path to move forward to get a weapon of sorts that can be upgraded into the arsenal. The Army has far more success getting an existed weapon system upgraded than it does introducing a new one. Get something in, make it marginally useful and then get it to full usefulness. It can kill drones for now at short range and possibly mortars. Once it hits 100 kw, it can take out 155mm rounds, missiles and aircraft.

That said, lasers will never solely be able to replace all the other air defense weapons: you're still going to have guns and missiles. As you noted, weather is an issue. However, their cost savings when it is not inclement, is enormous and well worth it.
yeah, quote,

Laser skeptics sometimes note that laser proponents over the years have made numerous predictions about when lasers might enter service with DOD, and that these predictions repeatedly have not come to pass. Viewing this record of unfulfilled predictions, skeptics might argue that “lasers are X years in the future—and always will be.”

unquote, link is inside Sep 9, 2015
 
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