Thursday, September 18, 2008

Israelis Call It the "Nautilus" Ray Gun

For years M.E. has predicted some nuclear subs would become platforms for high-energy laser weapons. While I cannot yet tell you laser weapons have been installed on subs, some significant obstacles have been overcome for several years now.
That would make the FEL [Free Electron Laser] as strong as any laser ever built
-- including the so-called Nautilus ray gun, which knocked artillery shells and mortars out of the sky earlier this decade. ...These days, some lasers use use garnet crystals as their gain media. Others, huge vats of toxic chemicals. But a FEL doesn't use any gain medium at all to generate its beam. ... And that lets the FEL fire along many different wavelengths -- and for a long, long time. ... The Navy is interested in the FEL because most other lasers lose strength as they move through — and get absorbed by — the atmosphere. That's especially in moist environments; above the sea, for instance. But the FEL can pick particular slices of the spectrum where the absorption won't be nearly as bad.
source [emphasis added]

Since tremendous power plants leverage the advantage of nuclear subs, the marriage with lasers is certainly coming. Consider the missions of subs (besides espionage). Targets of stealth opportunity range from high speed, but nowhere near the speed of light, missiles to bombers and satellites. - No problem. You will see a far less practical chemical-powered MTHEL [Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser] blast 46 Katyusha rockets, artillery shells and mortars out of the sky. In some of the tests 3 live mortar rounds and the Katyusha are simultaneously in flight:

MTHEL laser

Wiki has more about FELs. Nuclear subs would make good platforms. If not ours, whose?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



At 20 September, 2008 01:27, Blogger Tom Goering said...

The human element involved with acquiring a target would slow the response time down I would think. Seems easy enough to program it to make sure it doesn't shoot down outgoing stuff. Kinda like LazerAegis :)


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