More military uses of light, again in the form of laser light. First I heard about the big jumbo jet that could kill missiles in flight – and now exists a humvee-mounted laser cannon that actually shot a spy drone out of the sky. From the article at New Scientist:
The Laser Avenger is an infrared laser with power levels somewhere in the tens of kilowatts range mounted on a Humvee off-road vehicle. It is designed to take down the smaller variety of UAV, which are hardest for conventional air-defence weapons to target.
The power of its laser has been doubled since 2007, when it was shown off destroying a stationary improvised bomb. Now it has tracked three small UAVs – the exact model has not been given – and shot one of them down. The laser tracks an object and holds fire until the target is close enough for it to cause burning with a single blast.
So now we have another use of laser light for defense. I wonder how we’re doing with lasers in the “let’s cure cancer” industry?
Again, from the article:
Surface to air missiles designed to target normal-sized aircraft struggle to lock onto small, light, UAVs sometimes made from plastics rather than metal, Nick Brown, editor-in-chief of the journal International Defence Review told New Scientist. “Lasers are a natural extension of their capability.”
Firing a laser multiple times would also be cheaper than firing many missiles, and could continue as long as power can be supplied.
However, Brown’s colleague Peter Felstead, editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, says the first battlefield lasers will not have UAVs in their sights. “Laser weapons are more likely to be fielded first to counter rockets and mortars, and that capability is not that far away,” he says.