Boeing revealed plans this week to test its new toy developed for the Army, a High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD).The laser, mounted to an 8-wheeled, 500-horsepower Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) would be able to shoot down threats at the speed of light with minimal collateral damage.
The weapon is a big break for the US military, which has been trying to develop laser weapons for years. Cooling and efficiency were problems, but so was getting the weapon down to a usable size. Modern warfare requires sophisticated weapons, including those using lasers and the electromagnetic spectrum.
This new model uses available electricity to create the 10-kilowatt, solid-state laser, meaning the troops using it would have ammo as long as their generator has power.
Boeing and the Army would like the project, currently in Phase II, to result in a true weapons-grade 100-kilowatt laser. It will use mirrors, high-speed optical sensors, and high-speed processors to detect and fire on unmanned aerial threats, rockets, artillery, and mortars.
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