Monday, November 19, 2007

High Powered Submarine Lasers and Toys

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the arm of the Department of Defense responsible for new military technologies. DARPA attempts to identify technology breakthroughs by evaluating those with both revolutionary advantage and near-term feasibility. The most promising projects meeting such criteria are provided further funding to refine military applications.

DARPA is independent of captive (military branch) R&D efforts, and is accountable to senior Pentagon management. An average of 240 employees oversee a variable budget (currently averaging a pittance (only $3.2 billion).

Whatever comes out of DARPA publicly is intended as much for our enemies as taxpayers. In other words, a lot goes on that we never hear about. To my mind that is generally appropriate.

Then, when stuff does come out, the avowed purpose can seem just as sensible to taxpayers as it appears threatening and transparent to potential aggressor nations. Consider the Airborne Laser (ABL) mounted into a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, for instance: ... [It] Operates autonomously, above the clouds, outside the range of threat weapons but sufficiently close to enemy territory ... accurately point and fire the high-energy laser, destroying enemy missiles near their launch areas.

Have you got that? Now, wouldn't it also be superb at knocking squadrons of attacking bombers or fighters out of the sky? Next, take a look at this:

With much less weight consideration and a huge increase in power availability, the guts of the high-power laser fits nicely into an SSN. Of course, the mission would not be ballistic missile defense, would it? Preposterous, you say?

Have you heard about H.R. 607: Military Toy Replica Act (To prohibit defense contractors from requiring licenses or fees for use of military likenesses and designations)? It may not be going anywhere (its predecessor died in the 109th Congress), but I would like to remind readers of the sometimes eerie connection between military toys and undisclosed, military planning revealed much, much later. The Aurora plastic model kit for SSN 575 included a deck-mounted missile launcher. Seawolf never had one of those, but over 20 years later she got something that looked similar.

Here is a cheap toy submarine, and no, the light is not a laser: R/C X-SUB World's Smallest Mini Radio Remote Control RC Submarine Available cheap at Amazon. There is a 23 second YouTube, too:

Thinking outside of the box

What do you think its mission would be if the turret laser were mounted atop the submarine's hull? High-powered CO2 laser beams can be invisible in air.



At 20 November, 2007 10:52, Blogger reddog said...

We were slow and old but nobody could say we didn't eat good.

That thing on the ass end there is Hypocket Hymen's patented, pressurized, reactor fired Bar-B-Que and finest kind Pig Roaster. Onliest one in existence. Could do six big boars at once. Shovel in them helium soaked hickory chips. UMMM-UMMM! Cook'em slow and easy.

That red thing behind the sail? King crab boiler, always plenty of those around. Just blow the sanitary tanks and they'd come a runnin'.

How do you think Bo the Nook became such a gourmet?

At 20 November, 2007 13:52, Blogger Vigilis said...

Always wondered about that, Reddog. Bet Bo still has that Pig Roaster hooked up where he works now. Proper Bar-B-Que takes lots of practice, you know, especially with those helium soaked hickory chips.

At 23 November, 2007 03:52, Blogger bothenook said...

frack, my secret is out.

reddog, you've broken a lot of secrets with that post. don't be surprised if a haze gray sedan with 4 really large individuals come visiting. nobody, and i mean nobody was ever supposed to know how many pigs fit in the roaster.
nice knowin' ya.

At 23 November, 2007 21:36, Blogger Vigilis said...

Reddog, please do not take Bo's comment as a harmless joke. "Sea boars" is code for a highly classified entity (Google "sea boars" to verify).

If the four thugs in a sedan have not found you yet, you will want to take immediate precautions.

Bo is pretty dangerous; I attended one reunion where he "made sure" he met everyone. Fortunately he did not remember me. How lucky was that!

At 07 October, 2008 15:18, Blogger gblog said...

Given the stealth, reactor plant, and stable platform (compared to being airborne), I would think that using a submarine for a laser platform would make the much more sense. I’m not sure of how it would be implemented on an airplane, but I would argue that for a submarine, DARPA shouldn’t be looking at CO2 lasers, but rather fiber lasers… they offer several distinct advantages, including:
RELIABILITY & MAINTENANCE – With the exception of changing cooling filters, the fiber lasers have no routine maintenance and longer lifetime than a CO2 laser.
THRU HULL CONNECTIONS & BEAM DELIVERY – Fiber lasers can deliver a beam through a flexible cable (upwards of 50m long), and require only relatively small optics on the end (would help to minimize engineering costs to implement the system). Other types of lasers either have more complicated beam delivery units and optics. Furthermore, a video image can also be transmitted coaxial with the fiber laser beam (done at the optics end).
FOOTPRINT & COOLING - Regardless of the type of laser, anything will produce a significant heat load and require water cooling. However, I believe electronics cabinet for a fiber laser is smaller than other comparably powered lasers.
HIGHER EFFICIENCY – Fiber lasers are highly efficient compared to other types (on the order of 25% vice a couple of percent). Considering the energy required to run a high powered laser in a continuous mode, the fiber laser would be much less of a strain on the electric plant.
Thanks, Robert J Loomis III
Oh yeah, being invisible in air is a function of the wavelength, not necessarily the type of laser. Either way, aside from the engineering difficulties inherent with a saltwater environment, there isn’t any reason why a submarine mounted laser isn’t feasible. With the flexible cable, even mounting a laser onto a scope is possible

At 25 November, 2008 17:04, Blogger Vigilis said...

A belated thanks to you Robert Loomis.


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