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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

21st century ray gun plane

Many Samizdata thanks to reader FeloniusPunk who pointed out an article in the LA Times on the state of the art in laser weaponry. I must admit to being technologically blindsided and slack jawed after reading it.

I have been following the USAF conversion of a 747 into a chemical laser gunship (below) and I knew great advances had occured in solid state lasers… but nothing like this

Photo: USAF

9 comments to 21st century ray gun plane

  • Paul Marks

    I have little scientific knowledge, but I still found the L.A. Times article rather weak.

    What sort of lasers are we talking about here? I would guess not infrared lasers (too puny), X ray lasers are hard to produce (at least mobile X ray lasers are hard to produce), so are we talking about ultra violet lasers?

    Paul Marks.

  • Lou Gots

    Jest send in your chief and surrender–it’s worse if you fights or you runs: You may hide in your caves, they’ll be only youir graves, but you can’t get away from the guns!.

  • Woohoo!!!!
    That’s mah enemy zapping laser. After all that defense spending by Reagan on Star Wars, we better get some sort of laser.

    “What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  • Peter Schiavo

    “All your base are belong to us”

    I can’t wait until the rest of the world starts worshiping the US. If the technology gap gets any worse, the Euros will be wearing bones through their noses waiting for the great silver birds to come and dispense mana.

  • James

    I wonder if the enemy could be defeat this by simply polishing their missles, aircraft, etc. to reflect the rays, or use some other type of material that does not absorb the ray’s energy. The story mentions that clouds also reduce the ray’s effectiveness, so could something be devised to provide cover to command and control stuctures?

  • James

    dammit — that is “…enemy could defeat this…”

  • Matt W.

    Ah, this is great. We’re only a few steps away from living in the future envisioned in 50’s science fiction. Even there, technically Hover Cars, personal jet packs, and house keeping robots do exist, they just aren’t very practical or cheap. But frankly, who wouldn’t get shivers thinking about an F-22 Raptor firing a Laser cannon and blowing apart an enemy missile compound buried a couple hundred feet under ground? Now all we need is to get these down to rifle size, and wear conspicuous red outfits, and we’ll be set!

  • Paul Marks

    The argument against energy weapons is that what you gain in speed you lose in puch. It is claimed that there is nothing as good as an object (say a warhead full of high explosive) for smashing another object (say a ship or a tank).

    On the reflection point I remember when infrared lasers were being shown off the target had to be painted red for the laser to have a decent effect (someone may correct my memory on this).

    I still find it very odd that no one has yet informed us to what type of lasers are being talked about here.

    It is hardly a secret that infrared lasers did not work well and X ray lasers are rather difficult (I am told they would have to be rather big), – so are we talking about ultra violent lasers or not?

    Paul Marks.

  • alanparsonsproject

    I will use my mirror against your “LAZ”-“ER”.

    dr. eevil