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The U.S. Army’s Next Super Weapon: A Laser Machine Gun?

The U.S. Army is working on one of the most futuristic weapons that’s come along in quite some time. It’s called the Tactical Ultrashort Pulsed Laser for Army Platforms. According to Industry Tap, the laser is “more than a million times powerful than any used before.

“This weapon can speedily fire metal-vaporizing pulses, just like a machine gun. It can easily vaporize its targets and disrupt enemy tech signals.”

The Ultrashort Pulsed Laser for Army Platforms works similar to weapons from various science fiction movies. There have been lasers with military applications before, but this one is built on short pulses that emit low energy, causing it to emit an electromagnetic pulse.

The SBIR page for the weapon says more about how it works.

“Current high energy laser (HEL) weapon systems primarily consist of continuous wave (CW) laser sources with output powers in the kilowatts,” the description says. “These kilowatt-class CW laser systems predominantly engage targets via absorption of light; either causing the target to burn and melt or overwhelming optical sensors with high intensities. Thanks to the emergence of diode and fiber laser technology, these laser systems have grown increasingly ruggedized to the point they have been integrated onto platforms ranging from ground to sea. The Army is preparing the warfighter for a future battlefield with rapidly modernizing militaries while new threats and gaps are emerging. CW lasers provide solutions to many of these problems but due to their fundamental different natures, lasers with pulse widths in the range of femtoseconds provide unique tactical capabilities due to their rapid discharge of enormous power.”

Forbes, in writing about the Tactical Ultrashort Pulsed Laser for Army Platforms, compared it to the Pulsed Energy Projectile, described as “a U.S. Army project involving a chemical laser in the early 2000s which vaporized outer clothing to produce a stunning but non-harmful flash-bang effect.”

The military currently uses various types of lasers. According to a report last year, Lockheed Martin is looking to shrink down its HELIOS laser to the point where it could fit on a future fighter plane. In addition, the Navy has begun to arm its destroyers with laser-based weapons. Read Full Article >

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