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Transformational Weapons

High powered lasers have the potential to completely change the nature of the battlefield.  A few years ago I read about the MTHEL – Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser, and later Northrop-Grumman’s SkyGuard.  This is a system meant to shoot down rockets and artillery shells on the battlefield before they have a chance to reach their targets.  The problem with the current systems is that they are powered by a chemical reaction, and are difficult and expensive to operate in the field.  They can also not maintain a very high rate of fire.

That’s why it was very interesting to read a few days ago that they’ve developed a 67kW solid state laser at Lawrence Livermore.  Solid state lasers would have the potential for more rapid and sustained fire, and would be vastly more practical to use on the battlefield.

This kind of thing is a transformational technology though.  If you can deploy it in sufficient numbers, it has the power to make conventional ballistic ordnance obsolete on the battlefield.

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