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TIE Defender

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I do have to hand it to the USN Northrop Grumman and private contracters that have proven the US ARMY and USAF incorrect that Laser can be used in a maritime operation but can be very lethal.  The preprototype Free Electron Laser can burn through 100 feet of steel (mild steel?) in one sec and it only costs a american quarter to fire it.

 

 

 

 

They have also applied a firing laser to aircraft for missile interception.

Edited by DoubleNot7

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DoubleNot7: True, the Anti ballistic missile laser armed 747 exists (albeit mothballed). It uses a chemical laser which is horrifically nasty in terms of waste and isn't exactly useful given the range is limited. The airborn laser project to fit a tactical laser to a C130 is early in development and also uses chemical lasers. It is designed for close range air-to-ground work.

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1) Laser research in the US is funded by both DARPA and Navy. So no one in the military is stopping development.

2) Fusion research in the US is going well. Again DoE and DARPA funding here.

3) Da Vinci's "art" books were not that to him. They were just his sketch pads. He was what was then considered a natural philosopher, now we would call him a scientist. Much of what he drew technologically wise were devices that could be built with the technology at his disposal.

4) The current prototype free electron laser can fire at around 14kw. A 1000kw beam (1MW) would be able to burn through around 20 foot of steel per second at a range of 1 mile.

5) Cost of firing the weapon is not the issue. Certainly it is cheaper per shot than missile based area defence weapons, but not significantly different from gun based systems. The real benefit is you don't need to carry ammunition, only provide power. I should not e that mounting this sort of weapon is not feasible on current hulls, they do not have the power distribution or generation capacity to support them.

 

 

As to Arthur Volts's point. No the Tesla weapon was nothing more than science fantasy.

 

 

I pointed out the werent stoping development just greatly slowing it down.  Alot of anti enegry weapon propaganda and politics are thrown about we funding is discused for developing energy weapons.  The main thing sluggers will throw out is that LASERS cost to much energy wise and don't put out equal or more, the throw out that steam, fog, bad weather and ocean conditions makes them usless, thermal blooming and the fact QUOTE UNGUOTE Kinectic weapons will always delived more energy.  This is all bs though, mechanically hyper pulesed lasers or even just Free Electron Lasers undo their argument not to mention thermal kinectic damage caused by high powered lasers is just as good as kinect damage in my eyes.

 

Just like energy weapon reaserch the United States is a hinderence to the progress of Fusion energy.  The diffrent states have diffrent goals that must be met for thing things to be built.  Furcon Engineering Inc was tasked with building a nuclear power plant a couple years ago the money put into its construction was more expensive than what it was purchased for.  The head supervisor for that project felt it was a big waste of time and money because of the state and their issues with the plant.  Take in mind this happend before the event that took place in Japan.

 

The info you got about the FEL seems abit outdated, they were at the 200 kw beam range in 2011   :D

 

Actully the biggest beneffets to having a Laser weapon is that they are very hard to avoid and they have the capability of being the most lethal weapons.  Their is a limit to just how powerful a kinetic can be, rather how much kinectic energy can be delevered.  With Lasers their is no limirt but how much energy is put into the lasing process, excluding endurance and source of power.

 

Its ironic if you have red into how a FEL works its very similar to all the SW lasers esp the Turbos

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MajorJuggler: Pity then that they have limited to the production run of the Zumwalt to 3 units. Want to build more Arleigh Burke class instead as they are WAY cheaper.

 

Ah BKL you do make me laugh. Every time.

Yes there are plenty of reasons why lasers are not a particularly great battlefield weapon. There are many ways to reduce their effectiveness. A particularly good one for ships is the fog/mist approach - you just spray seawater around the ship constantly.

 

For other things reflective surfaces work well against lasers, so the beam just bounces off. Not that this makes lasers unusable as a tactical weapon but they aren't the pancea that sci-fi literature makes them out to be.

 

Now for kinetic energy weapons (of all types) you are far less able to defend with cheap solutions (like a reflective coating). Armour is heavy and has any number of downsides to the armoured item.

 

Now we can talk about energy delivery to target. Assume we have a 100KW laser. Now say it fires 50% of the time (since you are pulsing it). For the moment I will allow perfect accuracy in my calculation. So in 1 second it delivers 50KJ of energy to the target. This is enough energy to boil 228g of Aluminium assuming perfect transmission of energy.

 

As a note the Phalanx CIWS fires a 100g shell at 1,100m/s, for 60KJ per shot, and it fires 75 times per second. Which would you rather have?

 

Now clearly the laser may have a longer range. But hitting something at range is always the difficult thing, especially given the downsides of a laser system, ie you miss the target and nothing happens and tracking how much you missed by is hard since you can't see the beam on radar - unlike a kinetic weapon! (Remember the Phalanx CIWS uses its radar to track the shells it is firing to improve accuracy)

That is beside the question of chemical based kinetic weapons having everything they need to fire in the shell, no need for a generator system that can be damaged. I will note that should we develop high capacity long duration capacitor technology this could change - but then you get the same supply issues as with chemical kinetic weapons. Also to be frank energy weapons have their own supply issues - you do need to supply fuel for said weapon's generator, and distribute the resulting power from generator to weapon, and unlike chemical kinetics you have to keep the connection open.

 

 

Now you also said that there is no limit to the amount of energy that can be pumped into a laser. That is just totally wrong on so many levels. The materials used to make a laser do absolutely limit the possible energy input. As with kinetic weapons, materials are everything.

 

 

Also - I cannot see any media releases saying 200KW beam power levels have been acheived. I can see sporadic reports of non-FEL based systems approaching those power levels in potentia. But the latest source I can see on FEL systems is for 2011 saying Boeing were getting a contract to develop towards at 100KW system http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/21/us-navys-free-electron-laser-breaks-another-record-takes-aim-a/ and that the end of the project funding was around 2015.

 

 

Your final point is on the FEL is like the SW laser or turbo-laser. The weapons in SW are not lasers no matter what the books seem to say. The beans don't move at light speed (so not composed of radiation), and are visible to the eye (the only way a laser is visible is due to beam scattering off dust/other particles in the air)

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MajorJuggler: Pity then that they have limited to the production run of the Zumwalt to 3 units. Want to build more Arleigh Burke class instead as they are WAY cheaper.

 

Ah BKL you do make me laugh. Every time.

Yes there are plenty of reasons why lasers are not a particularly great battlefield weapon. There are many ways to reduce their effectiveness. A particularly good one for ships is the fog/mist approach - you just spray seawater around the ship constantly.

 

For other things reflective surfaces work well against lasers, so the beam just bounces off. Not that this makes lasers unusable as a tactical weapon but they aren't the pancea that sci-fi literature makes them out to be.

 

Now for kinetic energy weapons (of all types) you are far less able to defend with cheap solutions (like a reflective coating). Armour is heavy and has any number of downsides to the armoured item.

 

Now we can talk about energy delivery to target. Assume we have a 100KW laser. Now say it fires 50% of the time (since you are pulsing it). For the moment I will allow perfect accuracy in my calculation. So in 1 second it delivers 50KJ of energy to the target. This is enough energy to boil 228g of Aluminium assuming perfect transmission of energy.

 

As a note the Phalanx CIWS fires a 100g shell at 1,100m/s, for 60KJ per shot, and it fires 75 times per second. Which would you rather have?

 

Now clearly the laser may have a longer range. But hitting something at range is always the difficult thing, especially given the downsides of a laser system, ie you miss the target and nothing happens and tracking how much you missed by is hard since you can't see the beam on radar - unlike a kinetic weapon! (Remember the Phalanx CIWS uses its radar to track the shells it is firing to improve accuracy)

That is beside the question of chemical based kinetic weapons having everything they need to fire in the shell, no need for a generator system that can be damaged. I will note that should we develop high capacity long duration capacitor technology this could change - but then you get the same supply issues as with chemical kinetic weapons. Also to be frank energy weapons have their own supply issues - you do need to supply fuel for said weapon's generator, and distribute the resulting power from generator to weapon, and unlike chemical kinetics you have to keep the connection open.

 

 

Now you also said that there is no limit to the amount of energy that can be pumped into a laser. That is just totally wrong on so many levels. The materials used to make a laser do absolutely limit the possible energy input. As with kinetic weapons, materials are everything.

 

 

Also - I cannot see any media releases saying 200KW beam power levels have been acheived. I can see sporadic reports of non-FEL based systems approaching those power levels in potentia. But the latest source I can see on FEL systems is for 2011 saying Boeing were getting a contract to develop towards at 100KW system http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/21/us-navys-free-electron-laser-breaks-another-record-takes-aim-a/ and that the end of the project funding was around 2015.

 

 

Your final point is on the FEL is like the SW laser or turbo-laser. The weapons in SW are not lasers no matter what the books seem to say. The beans don't move at light speed (so not composed of radiation), and are visible to the eye (the only way a laser is visible is due to beam scattering off dust/other particles in the air)

 

Last I checked it was on a artical on wired.com  They talked about the pump for the FEL alas that artical is also out of date by three years.

 

As for the counter measures they are a little  issue for the FEL since it can change wavelengths real easy and it was meant to be used in marine conditions including also the soldstate laser prototype .  Reflective surfaces are not a problem ether since we are talking high powered lasers.  The heat will cause imperfections in surface being used destroying it, if there any particles on or around that surface that the Laser strikes it will desroty that surface faster.

 

Issues with kinetic weapons that can hinder them are as follows.  Primer failure, production error, ecm, programming error, hydraulic failure, maintance error.  Their is no current weapon or machine we have that can't fail. 

 

I don't think you red my post all the way, I told you that the power level of a laser is dependant on materials which is why I said endurance =), even then they as a whole have potental to be the most powerful weapon, after all Lasers are the onlything we got that can destroy the fabric of space.  As for kinetic weapons what limits them is velocity which makes their destructive capabilities finite.  In the future at that point in time we are capable of harnessing say the power of a gamma buster, it could be converted into a usable item in the lasing process making very powerful gamma ray laser.  The laser it self can be more dangerous because the width of the beam could be set to be the width of a human hair delivering massive power into a extremly small surface area. 

 

Just about everything we see lasers do in SW we have done in real life.  We have used diffrent mediums to make lasers move at 33 mph and also 300 X the speed of light.  We have taken stills of real Laser bolts and in the future I have no doubt we will make more progress with exotic laser technology.

 

As for why lasers appear the way they do in SW their could be many reasons.  One could be they are magnetically bottled for better guidance twords ships using heavy ECM.  Take in mind SW ships have the most advanced composite sensors, ECM, and ECCM you will find in scifi.

 

Or we are as veiwers processing what the characters are recorded by machines as doing.  In which case they recorded what a normal human can not see naturally.  One thing that points to this maybe being true is the fact most if not all the movie covers show the lasers as beams.  =) 

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Yes FEL can change wavelengths - no that doesn't mean the beam will not be absorbed by water sprayed in the way. The frequency adjustment allows you to tune the laser to reduce blooming. Note the higher the laser power the more blooming is an issue. Yes - reflective surfaces are an acceptable counter to short duration hits. Shooting a laser at a moving target you are unlike to be able to hold the beam on exactly the same point, so reflective surfaces will significantly reduce the impact of the weapon.

 

As to your issue with kinetic weapons, all of the ones you list can affect laser weapons. As you pointed out there is no machine we have that can't fail.

 

Yes, I did read all of your incredibly badly written post. I just enjoy telling idiots when they are wrong. You seem so able to quote chapter and verse when backing up your ideas in universe and then spout generic crap when talking about real life.

 

Indeed kinetic weapons are limited by the velocity of the projectile, which is why for most large kinetic weapons you add an explosive charge. Very few modern large scale kinetic type weapons are pure kinetic energy weapons. The largest pure kinetic weapons are the APFSDS rounds used in modern tanks.

 

Lasers destroy the fabric of space? Er whut? Where the hell did you get that one from?

 

Oh, so now you are talking about gamma pumped lasers, yes, set off a small nuke and use it to pump a gamma laser. Makes a great bang, but not exactly practical for a shipboard weapon. And you still have the same issues with blooming in atmosphere. note that making the beam really tiny actually doesn't help, if you punch straight through the target you are unlikely to hit anything vital. This is why modern penetration weapons are designed to penetrate the first armour layer and bounce around inside the vehicle causing critical damage.

 

Yes, we can indeed slow down light by putting it through exotic mediums. That doesn't mean we can slow it down in air (or space for that matter). Changing the way the laser is generated doesn't change how the resultant radiation propogates.

 

So now you are talking about magnetic bottling for guidance purposes? Again, say what? If you are talking about magnetic bottles you are now in the realm of plasma weapons, not lasers. So that is right out. That is beside the point on why ECM would affect the path of a laser once fired.

 

You can make any excuses you want as why what is seen on screen doesn't match how the artists decided to describe the things they made. I will happily say what they show on screen are not lasers but some sort of plasma based weapon system, no matter what the books and other bumf says!

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*Ahem* back on topic: no I don't think the wings will spin. That was something only added on the Lego version of the defender. Plus, so far the only ships to have moving parts are the medium ships, probably because they are thicker plastic and more durable. I would like to see moving wings on the Assault Gunboat if it is ever released.

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Yes FEL can change wavelengths - no that doesn't mean the beam will not be absorbed by water sprayed in the way. The frequency adjustment allows you to tune the laser to reduce blooming. Note the higher the laser power the more blooming is an issue. Yes - reflective surfaces are an acceptable counter to short duration hits. Shooting a laser at a moving target you are unlike to be able to hold the beam on exactly the same point, so reflective surfaces will significantly reduce the impact of the weapon.

 

As to your issue with kinetic weapons, all of the ones you list can affect laser weapons. As you pointed out there is no machine we have that can't fail.

 

Yes, I did read all of your incredibly badly written post. I just enjoy telling idiots when they are wrong. You seem so able to quote chapter and verse when backing up your ideas in universe and then spout generic crap when talking about real life.

 

Indeed kinetic weapons are limited by the velocity of the projectile, which is why for most large kinetic weapons you add an explosive charge. Very few modern large scale kinetic type weapons are pure kinetic energy weapons. The largest pure kinetic weapons are the APFSDS rounds used in modern tanks.

 

Lasers destroy the fabric of space? Er whut? Where the hell did you get that one from?

 

Oh, so now you are talking about gamma pumped lasers, yes, set off a small nuke and use it to pump a gamma laser. Makes a great bang, but not exactly practical for a shipboard weapon. And you still have the same issues with blooming in atmosphere. note that making the beam really tiny actually doesn't help, if you punch straight through the target you are unlikely to hit anything vital. This is why modern penetration weapons are designed to penetrate the first armour layer and bounce around inside the vehicle causing critical damage.

 

Yes, we can indeed slow down light by putting it through exotic mediums. That doesn't mean we can slow it down in air (or space for that matter). Changing the way the laser is generated doesn't change how the resultant radiation propogates.

 

So now you are talking about magnetic bottling for guidance purposes? Again, say what? If you are talking about magnetic bottles you are now in the realm of plasma weapons, not lasers. So that is right out. That is beside the point on why ECM would affect the path of a laser once fired.

 

You can make any excuses you want as why what is seen on screen doesn't match how the artists decided to describe the things they made. I will happily say what they show on screen are not lasers but some sort of plasma based weapon system, no matter what the books and other bumf says!

 

I think your taking this too personal seeing how it is you have now made personal attacks at me which is agianst the code of conduct.

 

I know agreat deal about the specific things I have talked about.   The problem here is that your too orthodox and I have taken up  things like quantom theory, I do except for now we are held back by laws like the laws of hydraulics or conversion, BUT I do believe from what I have been taught in quantom mechanics , space is infinite , depends on who you talk too, the possibilitiy that everything we have made up exists is high, including many varations of that thing,  Thats just part of the introduction.

 

Your posts that are negative towards energy based weapons just proves my point earlyer that personal bias and politics are a hinderance to the devolpment of energy based weapons.  What I said about the FEL and to a degree the soldstate laser prototype used by the USN barely will have an issue with most of the counters you have mentioned the USN has made remarks on that fact, unless of corse your saying they are lying which is what I would expect from a slugger supporter, no hard feelings =) 

 

Now as for reflective surfaces, thermal blooming.   The FEL has no problem with blooming because of its ability to change  wavelength but also mechanically hyperpulsed lasers will not have that problem ether.  I will just throw this out right now most of the counter you mentioned where incorrectly made by people in the past that didn't have a full idea about what hipowered lasers were capable of doing...  What I said earlyer also still stands about reflective surfaces.  Just one smuge or bit of fluid on that object if hit by that laser will cause a much quicker failure of that object because of energy taken in by that smuge causing and explosion.

 

Take in mind I am talking about really high powered lasers half the time that are more powerful than the FEL but one day can be weaponised.  When I read your estimates I do get the feeling you are only using varables that are not realistic in the sence that the people who designed the Laser are incompetent.  I am sorry I missed this question btw but I would take the laser over the phalanx.  Per shoot it is more powerful, it costs way less per ignition to fire the laser and it would be much more difficult to miss with the Laser.  Also the Phalanx has more moving parts and can have a mechanical failure because of this fact.

 

As I pointed out your comments help my point that personal bias hammpers the development of specific things like lasers.  Now find it strange that you were firm in your stance that the development of Laser and other energy weapons are not hammpered yet your fighting with me that kinetic weapons are better...  I would say that is a double standard.  Which is a que for me to make this my last post in this topic.

 

Scientists and engineers in the UK have devolped a laser with the purpose of destroying the fabric of space.  I assume you already knew that and your counter will be "they can easily destroy the fabric of space by banging two big rocks together"  Just poking fun =)

 

I never said anywhere using any man made explosive that produce gamma radation for use in the lasing process of the gamma Laser.   Nor was I talking about it being used on a ship in the ocean, nor used in the atmo. The type you assumed I am talking about If it where used in atmo, blooming wouldnt be an issue and on top of that thermal kinetic damage would be very high, and it wouldnt hamper it if  has duplex or tryplex armor like it would with a kinetic weapon.  The type of gamma laser I am talking about could easily destroy Earth.

 

You are assuming that the Lasers are being fired on planets with the same comp as earth, and that space in the SW is the same in our solar system.  You do know just in our galaxy there diffrent stretches of space were light move slower and others where it moves faster than what we have recorded here on and around earth.  Not only that but even on earth they found recently diffrent wavelengths of light move at diffrent velocities. 

 

As for magentic bottling and SW ECM... You can move lasers, even make them do 90 degree turns, with magnetic fields even thoulgh we cant do it now I am sure in the future we can bottle them or at least compound them into a bolt.  It is not beside the point why ECM would effect lasers.  No one yet knows the details how ecm or eccm works in SW, we just know at it most powerful it flat out stops every kind of passive and active scan system without lighting up like a bulb.  It stops all forums of detection we have now and the made up stuff in SW which is a lot.

 

As for your closing comment I will happily point out that Laser technology is catching up to what we have seen in SW and just as the writters of movies and other mediums have written, they are lasers.  Not only do I do that for lore sake but respect for the writters themseleves and what they have written.  =)

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You say personal attack, I say observation.... Your complete inabilty to write correct english is only the first indication!

 

Please provide evidence you have studied what you are talking about. I personally don't believe it. You claim you have studied quantum theory. Where? I studied it at university as part of my degree. So please don't try and lecture me on it. If you actually knew me you would know I am not what you would call orthodox. Now you claim quantum theory says space is infinite, well it isn't. The universe may have no boundaries, but that is not the same as being infinite.

 

Who said I have a negative bias with regard to energy weapons? I absolutely support the use of laser based weapons systems. I am just cognizant of the issues they will have in use. I'm not saying the USN are lying, but they are making simple statements for public consumption rather than for technical readers. An FEL weapon will have less issues with thermal blooming than a single frequency laser because you can tune the frequency, but if the medium differs in property along beam path (which air does over medium to long range) that benefit is reduced. I will agree that by using incredibly short pulses (of the order of nanoseconds) you can reduce the effect of blooming (but not remove it entirely). To compensate for short beam durations you need to increase power levels and the higher the power of the laser the greater the issues with blooming. So rather a difficult position.

 

I will also agree that the counters to laser weapons (like reflective surfaces, ablative coatings, or mist/fog/etc systems) are not perfect counters. They only reduce the effectiveness of the laser system, meaning longer/more shots to get the same effect. But that is true of almost any defensive system. Now you say that these issues were mostly raised historically by those who didn't know what high powered lasers were capable of. No, most of these issues were raised by the scientists involved in the SDI project. I'm pretty sure they knew what lasers were capable of.

 

You say that smudges of liquid on the surface of the item being hit by the lase will explode and damage the item. So you clearly don't understand how lasers cause damage. They do not cause things to explode, they vaporise a small amount of the material on the item they hit by transfering large quantities of energy to a small point. When hitting a missile travelling at high speed this can cause catastrophic failure as the aerodynamics are affected and the missile goes out of control. Similarly for a larger target (like a ship) you can damage control system, sensors, or whatever else gets hit.

 

We were talking about the FEL in this discussion. If you want to talk about potential multi megawatt laser systems then sure things can change. But we could develop ray shielding in the future so the point is moot. Keep on topic!

 

As to the laser being more powerful than the phalanx per shot, I think I was quite clear. The phalanx fires 75 shells per second, each with kinetic energy of 65KJ. So this is a power output of 4.5MW. So you would need a laser with this power output to have the same power per shot if you want the same rate of fire. This is 45 times the power level of the eventual FEL laser. So no the laser is not more powerful. You comment that the phalanx is more expensive per shot. It may well be, depends on more than just the cost of the shell vs the cost of the energy to fire the laser. You need to factor in maintenance, replacement parts, initial cost, etc. You also say the phalanx has more moving parts. Indeed it has a few more, the actual gun mechanism being the main one. The rest of the system would be the same, the laser still needs to be aimed!

 

You say I believe kinetic weapons are better. Yes I believe that the current kinetic weapons are better than the laser weapons we have now. Going forward as laser weapons improve that will become different, but laser weapons are not perfect for everything. Laser weapons may be great when they mature for use in ships, but without some significant developments in power generation technology you are not going to see them in tanks or fighter aircraft.

 

Oh yes, the Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility. It is intended to boil vacuum, not destroy space. But hey, what's a semantic difference like that matter between participants of a discussion like this? Again we are in the journalist who writes press release knows next to nothing of science situation.

 

With the gamma ray burster pumped laser (sorry I didn't understand that - your english was so bad I couldn't decipher the meaning). I would be far more worried by the collapsing star that caused the gamma ray burst than any pumped laser you could run off the gamma burst itself. But yeah, if you could build something that would survive the collapsing star then you could pump a laser that would destroy the Earth. But if you can do that why not just collapse the star and destroy the Earth that way?

 

Erm, yes it is possible there are regions of space where light travels at a different speed. Light will travel at different speeds in different mediums. As to different wavelengths of light travelling at different speeds, in vacuum that is not the case. In a medium that affects the speed of light then sure. But that doesn't mean you get lasers which travel nice and slowly in open space!

 

As to deflecting a laser with a magnetic field the general answer is no. The long answer is yes, but only very close to a black hole or pulsar. And the deflection is tiny in any case. So no you can't bottle a laser pulse, no matter how far technology advances.

 

No, laser technology is not catching up with what we have seen in Star Wars and it never will. I do respect that the writers have decided that the weapons are to be called lasers. I just do not connect the lasers they are talking about to what we have in the real world.

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I will have to side with the phalanx over the beam. While energy weapons have potential, especially as defensive weapons, I don't see them replacing primary kinetic weapons anytime soon. Primer failure? Really? That is so exceedingly rare with mil spec ammo that it almost never happens. The phalanx had proven itself over several years to do what it is designed to do very well. Yes, they are building some new vessels with enough power to run really big lasers. I would point out that these vessels are going to be very expensive, so the whole low cost per shot argument ignores the enormous cost of the city sized reactor in the hull. I do think there is potential worth exploring, and I am glad they are building these to try some things out. If you have a significant electrical problem, your weapons are down as well. Not necessarily the case with kinetic weapons I have some background in physics, chemistry and biology, as well as a license to practice medicine, I am also a combat vet that has seen the "minigun" in action, which is similar though smaller than the phalanx. Never seen a primer failure. Biggest problem with them is feeding them. I will take an old weapon that goes bang over a fancy one that may not every time. Oh and the defender wings won't spin (nor should they). And the lasers, blasters, or whatever look they way they do because invisible beams of coherent radiation just doesn't work in a movie. Any other questions, see above. Oh, and be nice, even though I agree with you, we don't need to be calling people idiots. Idiots usually announce themselves.

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You say personal attack, I say observation.... Your complete inabilty to write correct english is only the first indication!

 

Please provide evidence you have studied what you are talking about. I personally don't believe it. You claim you have studied quantum theory. Where? I studied it at university as part of my degree. So please don't try and lecture me on it. If you actually knew me you would know I am not what you would call orthodox. Now you claim quantum theory says space is infinite, well it isn't. The universe may have no boundaries, but that is not the same as being infinite.

 

Who said I have a negative bias with regard to energy weapons? I absolutely support the use of laser based weapons systems. I am just cognizant of the issues they will have in use. I'm not saying the USN are lying, but they are making simple statements for public consumption rather than for technical readers. An FEL weapon will have less issues with thermal blooming than a single frequency laser because you can tune the frequency, but if the medium differs in property along beam path (which air does over medium to long range) that benefit is reduced. I will agree that by using incredibly short pulses (of the order of nanoseconds) you can reduce the effect of blooming (but not remove it entirely). To compensate for short beam durations you need to increase power levels and the higher the power of the laser the greater the issues with blooming. So rather a difficult position.

 

I will also agree that the counters to laser weapons (like reflective surfaces, ablative coatings, or mist/fog/etc systems) are not perfect counters. They only reduce the effectiveness of the laser system, meaning longer/more shots to get the same effect. But that is true of almost any defensive system. Now you say that these issues were mostly raised historically by those who didn't know what high powered lasers were capable of. No, most of these issues were raised by the scientists involved in the SDI project. I'm pretty sure they knew what lasers were capable of.

 

You say that smudges of liquid on the surface of the item being hit by the lase will explode and damage the item. So you clearly don't understand how lasers cause damage. They do not cause things to explode, they vaporise a small amount of the material on the item they hit by transfering large quantities of energy to a small point. When hitting a missile travelling at high speed this can cause catastrophic failure as the aerodynamics are affected and the missile goes out of control. Similarly for a larger target (like a ship) you can damage control system, sensors, or whatever else gets hit.

 

We were talking about the FEL in this discussion. If you want to talk about potential multi megawatt laser systems then sure things can change. But we could develop ray shielding in the future so the point is moot. Keep on topic!

 

As to the laser being more powerful than the phalanx per shot, I think I was quite clear. The phalanx fires 75 shells per second, each with kinetic energy of 65KJ. So this is a power output of 4.5MW. So you would need a laser with this power output to have the same power per shot if you want the same rate of fire. This is 45 times the power level of the eventual FEL laser. So no the laser is not more powerful. You comment that the phalanx is more expensive per shot. It may well be, depends on more than just the cost of the shell vs the cost of the energy to fire the laser. You need to factor in maintenance, replacement parts, initial cost, etc. You also say the phalanx has more moving parts. Indeed it has a few more, the actual gun mechanism being the main one. The rest of the system would be the same, the laser still needs to be aimed!

 

You say I believe kinetic weapons are better. Yes I believe that the current kinetic weapons are better than the laser weapons we have now. Going forward as laser weapons improve that will become different, but laser weapons are not perfect for everything. Laser weapons may be great when they mature for use in ships, but without some significant developments in power generation technology you are not going to see them in tanks or fighter aircraft.

 

Oh yes, the Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility. It is intended to boil vacuum, not destroy space. But hey, what's a semantic difference like that matter between participants of a discussion like this? Again we are in the journalist who writes press release knows next to nothing of science situation.

 

With the gamma ray burster pumped laser (sorry I didn't understand that - your english was so bad I couldn't decipher the meaning). I would be far more worried by the collapsing star that caused the gamma ray burst than any pumped laser you could run off the gamma burst itself. But yeah, if you could build something that would survive the collapsing star then you could pump a laser that would destroy the Earth. But if you can do that why not just collapse the star and destroy the Earth that way?

 

Erm, yes it is possible there are regions of space where light travels at a different speed. Light will travel at different speeds in different mediums. As to different wavelengths of light travelling at different speeds, in vacuum that is not the case. In a medium that affects the speed of light then sure. But that doesn't mean you get lasers which travel nice and slowly in open space!

 

As to deflecting a laser with a magnetic field the general answer is no. The long answer is yes, but only very close to a black hole or pulsar. And the deflection is tiny in any case. So no you can't bottle a laser pulse, no matter how far technology advances.

 

No, laser technology is not catching up with what we have seen in Star Wars and it never will. I do respect that the writers have decided that the weapons are to be called lasers. I just do not connect the lasers they are talking about to what we have in the real world.

 

Iowa State University, altough I shouldnt have tell you where I learned it because if I recall correctly you are the same guy who refused to say where you practice your trade as a acoustical engineer.  

 

Your actions speek louder than words in regards to being agianst energy based weapons.  For example you keep on going on about how their is no way to get around the counters that have been mentioned.  Not once have I seen you take into consideration the size of the width of the beam in regards to making thermal blooming a non issue.

 

Now your comment about scientests knowing all along what weaponised  high powered lasers are capable of doing is not correct.  Most of the counters mentioned have existed since atleast the 80s.  When it was written they believed no laser could produce a beam equal to the energy put into it, they had not come to the understanding that high powered lasers can cause kinetic thermal damage and on top of that they cant be used in in any conditions not deemed perfect   Hell the stuff we can do with lasers now they never believed was possible.

 

I do understand how lasers cause damage.  The extreme laser can transfer extreme amounts of energy that can cause explosions and not just because the beam struck something flammable but also the sudden extreme tempature change.  

 

 

My whole point of this discussion is the evolution of laser weapons, it was never exculsive to the FEL or any system we have now.

 

As for the laser vs phalanx argument you have made a couple errors.  One is that you start the argument as a comparison of one laser beam vs one shell, but then you include dps.  Not only that but your estimate for dps for the laser is based on the assumption they dont know how to effectivly pulse the laser. 

 

Actully that Laser was made to pull the fabric of space apart.  To pull something apart is to tear it, to tear something is to rend it, and if it has been rended it is destroyed.

 

You knew full well what I meant when I said "Gamma Burster" no one calls any man made fusion explosive a gamma burster.  Anyway I was using earth as an example since you used it as the location I would be firing a ship based gamma laser.   The 1st major reason you would go to the trouble to make a gamma buster Laser is if you couldnt hit what ever it is your trying to hit with the gamma buster because it is not in the direction of the polls.  2nd reason is because the laser beam will be more dangerous for the reasons I mentioned already.

 

I think it is a mistake to assume what we cant do in the future, you cant be 100% positive we wont have the technology to hyperbened lasers or bottle them.  The future can be one seconed to infinity from now the latter end beinging a very long ways off.

 

Yes Laser technology is catching up with what we have seen in SW or atleast until enough people believe it is a waste of time devloping better Laser technology.  Their will be a day when we can do even more than what was seen in SW and agian it is a mistake to dictate what we cant do with technology in the future.  As for what they have in SW they arr exotic lasers... If they were plasma characts wouldnt get excited over plasma weapons or make a point to name those weapons plasma weapons but not name other plasma weapons plasma weapons.

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I will have to side with the phalanx over the beam. While energy weapons have potential, especially as defensive weapons, I don't see them replacing primary kinetic weapons anytime soon. Primer failure? Really? That is so exceedingly rare with mil spec ammo that it almost never happens. The phalanx had proven itself over several years to do what it is designed to do very well. Yes, they are building some new vessels with enough power to run really big lasers. I would point out that these vessels are going to be very expensive, so the whole low cost per shot argument ignores the enormous cost of the city sized reactor in the hull. I do think there is potential worth exploring, and I am glad they are building these to try some things out. If you have a significant electrical problem, your weapons are down as well. Not necessarily the case with kinetic weapons I have some background in physics, chemistry and biology, as well as a license to practice medicine, I am also a combat vet that has seen the "minigun" in action, which is similar though smaller than the phalanx. Never seen a primer failure. Biggest problem with them is feeding them. I will take an old weapon that goes bang over a fancy one that may not every time. Oh and the defender wings won't spin (nor should they). And the lasers, blasters, or whatever look they way they do because invisible beams of coherent radiation just doesn't work in a movie. Any other questions, see above. Oh, and be nice, even though I agree with you, we don't need to be calling people idiots. Idiots usually announce themselves.

 

 

Its clear your in the sluggers camp...  You guys like to bring up problems energy weapons can have well its only fair to point out what can go wrong with any non energy based weapon.

 

The funny thing about the phalanx is that in the 2 times it was needed to protect a USN ship from real danger it failed.  Granted one of those times it was not turned on BUT THE OTHER TIME it failed to target a silkworm and instead fired at the USS MISSOURI and her chaff cloud 3 miles away.  During excersise they have a good rep in the USA except that one time it targeted a A6 tow but when we have needed it has failed.  Under the conditions you have given the SS Laser to fail so too would the Phalanx. 

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You do keep setting yourself up for this  beatdown now don't you.

 

Yeah, so I'm not an acoustical engineer. I have said what I do day to day. I'm currently working in financial statistics in London. My masters degree was Mathematics with a side order of Computer Science. I specialised in applied maths and theoretical physics for undergrad.

 

I was quite clear in my previous statement that there are some partial ways round the issues I have mentioned. The reason I did not comment on increasing beam width is that is doesn't actually help. Spreading the beam will undoubtably reduce thermal blooming issues, however it will also significantly reduce the power density of the beam. I haven't the figures to hand for how much blooming reduces as you widen the beam, but since it is related to the heating of the medium the beam is passing through I would have thought it is closely related to the beam energy density. (I may go look up the figures later). Assuming you have a laser of a given output, widening the beam will reduce blooming but increase the time you need to keep the shot on target to produce the same effect.

 

I do struggle to understand the logic in your next paragraph. You seem to say that scientists did not know what weaponised high powered lasers were capable of because they beleived that no laser could produce a beam equal to the energy put in. Well that is still the case I'm afraid. CO2 lasers are around 30% efficient. The highest efficiency lasers I can find quickly are green laser diodes at around 64% efficiency. Though that is at milliwatt power levels. As to whether lasers can be used in non-perfect conditions, of course they can and of course they knew that. But in non-perfect conditions you require more power and control for the same result because of the extra energy lost to the environment.

 

You maintain that lasers do this kinetic thermal damage. No there is no kinetic damage from a laser. You get thermal damage which can, at sufficiently high power levels, vapourise parts of the target. They may also cause shockwaves within the structure of the target due to the rapid expansion/contraction of the material. There is no kinetic energy transfer.

 

Where does this idea of explosions come from? Things do not explode because they are hit by a laser, even with a sudden extreme temperature change. A laser could ignite the target, but the effect of laser on material is not going to cause an explosion.

 

Yeah, so in my phalanx description I do compare 1 shell and the laser beam. I have to use energy output per second or some other mode of comparison. Please tell me how pulsing the laser changes the fact that to get the same total power from the laser you have to fire it for a defined period of time. Now we already know that 1 shot from the phalanx has a kinetic energy of 65KJ. 1KW is 1KJ for 1 second. So to get the same amount of energy to the target you have to fire our 100KW laser for 0.65 seconds. (Probably quite a lot longer than that as we are pulsing the laser so it will not be firing all the time).

 

In you next sentence I get the feeling you are channeling Yoda's description of the dark side. However you are starting from the description of the project used for public consumption in press releases. The website of the project itself doesn't mention pulling the fabric of space apart. http://www.extreme-light-infrastructure.eu/High-field_5_2.php

 

No. I really did not understand what you mean. I tried to understand and I thought you were talking about nuclear pumped x-ray lasers (since those have been called gamma pumped lasers in places - especially science fiction). Given that was not the case then meh... Now sure I suppose you could pump a laser with a gamma burster, you would need a good constant source and knowledge of where the burster is, which would be hard. Also not exactly optimal for a weapon in that you cannot control when you fire. Not I really can't understand the next sentance, doesn't make much sense to me - what is "polls"? And why would that beam be more powerful than an equivalent power beam generated in any other way?

 

Yes, please do make up science. There is no known way we could bottle or hyperbend lasers. No theory exists that would allow you to do it (unless I suppose you gain control of gravity and can focus gravitic fields, but then if you can do that why would you be playing with lasers?).

 

Blah blah blah... junk bull spouted with no backing. Not knowing what science in the future will develop doesn't mean you can say that some particular item you describe will be developed. That is kind of the point. We just don't know what science will allow us to do.

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I did not really intend to get sucked into this, I am not in a camp. I think being in a camp makes you biased. I think there is great potential in energy weapons, particularly for lighter applications like middle defense. There are still significant hurtles to overcome, but they are getting there, and I forsee more use for them in the future. Fwiw, I agree that there is a lot of fear and bias against nuclear power. I don't think it's holding back research but I do think we would be well served as a nation with more nuclear power plants, though security for said plants is critical. As it stands right now, today. Kinetic weapons are clearly superior in most situations. I won't beat this horse to death, but consider the ability of a belt feed grenade launcher to carry different kinds of rounds. Gas, frag, HE, incendiary. Same with artillery shells, shipboard canons, tank rounds, etc. Kinetic weapons win right now in the vast majority of situations. They are cheaper, more reliable, more portable, more versatile. Does this mean we should stop playing with cool new toys? Of course not. As I said previously, I am glad they are building these new vessels to try some of these systems out. I am not anti laser. I am a major in the US army, not a lab rat. No offense. The purpose of the military is to break things and kill people. We need to be better at doing that than anyone else. When cool new toys help me do that, I love them. When they fail spectacularly, people die. When lasers are better, I will embrace them. I am in the combat effective camp. And I am done now. Regards.

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I've tried to stay out of this, but if there's anything I can't abide it's scientific ignorance.

 

 

Iowa State University, altough I shouldnt have tell you where I learned it because if I recall correctly you are the same guy who refused to say where you practice your trade as a acoustical engineer.  

 

Your actions speek louder than words in regards to being agianst energy based weapons.  For example you keep on going on about how their is no way to get around the counters that have been mentioned.  Not once have I seen you take into consideration the size of the width of the beam in regards to making thermal blooming a non issue.

 

Now your comment about scientests knowing all along what weaponised  high powered lasers are capable of doing is not correct.  Most of the counters mentioned have existed since atleast the 80s.  When it was written they believed no laser could produce a beam equal to the energy put into it, they had not come to the understanding that high powered lasers can cause kinetic thermal damage and on top of that they cant be used in in any conditions not deemed perfect   Hell the stuff we can do with lasers now they never believed was possible.

 

I do understand how lasers cause damage.  The extreme laser can transfer extreme amounts of energy that can cause explosions and not just because the beam struck something flammable but also the sudden extreme tempature change.  

 

 

My whole point of this discussion is the evolution of laser weapons, it was never exculsive to the FEL or any system we have now.

 

As for the laser vs phalanx argument you have made a couple errors.  One is that you start the argument as a comparison of one laser beam vs one shell, but then you include dps.  Not only that but your estimate for dps for the laser is based on the assumption they dont know how to effectivly pulse the laser. 

 

Actully that Laser was made to pull the fabric of space apart.  To pull something apart is to tear it, to tear something is to rend it, and if it has been rended it is destroyed.

 

You knew full well what I meant when I said "Gamma Burster" no one calls any man made fusion explosive a gamma burster.  Anyway I was using earth as an example since you used it as the location I would be firing a ship based gamma laser.   The 1st major reason you would go to the trouble to make a gamma buster Laser is if you couldnt hit what ever it is your trying to hit with the gamma buster because it is not in the direction of the polls.  2nd reason is because the laser beam will be more dangerous for the reasons I mentioned already.

 

I think it is a mistake to assume what we cant do in the future, you cant be 100% positive we wont have the technology to hyperbened lasers or bottle them.  The future can be one seconed to infinity from now the latter end beinging a very long ways off.

 

Yes Laser technology is catching up with what we have seen in SW or atleast until enough people believe it is a waste of time devloping better Laser technology.  Their will be a day when we can do even more than what was seen in SW and agian it is a mistake to dictate what we cant do with technology in the future.  As for what they have in SW they arr exotic lasers... If they were plasma characts wouldnt get excited over plasma weapons or make a point to name those weapons plasma weapons but not name other plasma weapons plasma weapons.

 

 

I think the good people of Iowa State would take issue with you claiming to be one of their alumni.

 

If you really think he's against energy weapons, then you need to re-read what he wrote. Nowhere does he say they're not worth pursuing, nor does he claim that they will always be ineffective. What he's trying to do is explain why they are not the sort of godlike weapons you seem to think they are. I also want you to look up a little principle called the Inverse Square Law and tell me if you think that spreading the beam out over a wider area won't cause a dramatic increase in energy consumption on the part of the laser.

 

Um, you do realize photons are massless, right? You need mass to impart kinetic energy, therefore a laser has no kinetic energy, no matter how powerful it is. I'd be willing to bet scientists knew what we'd be able to do with lasers, given enough time. It has come faster than they anticipated, but there's still a long way to go before they can be weaponized.

 

How would a laser cause an explosion? Please, enlighten me and the rest of us as to what scientific mechanism causes this. It sure isn't a dramatic increase in thermal energy, though I can see how a layman would think it would.

 

I am not a graduate of the engineering program, so I can't honestly address the next few paragraphs.

 

Regardless of what the future holds, there are grievous errors in your understanding of basic physics. Even if they're mistakes, those are mistakes that no practicing scientist or engineer would make. I'm not an engineer yet, and even I can see the flaws in your reasoning.

 

What makes you think the lasers in Star Wars are lasers? They call many guns "rifles" in sci-fi even though they possess no rifling in the barrel. The lasers in Star Wars also behave nothing like real life lasers, therefore they must not be lasers but some other mechanism.

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Panel can grab more power per square metre than star puts out not youngling.

 

Based on what we use now it is not viable.  What they are using in SW is more advanced design and materials wise.  Heck I seriously doubt they are using silcon crystals in any of the TIES design, that change in material already would change the reaction created when light makes contact with.  Take in mind though the energy the TIEs use is not equal to its solar re energization of the fuel it carries, and if the fuel is to be fully charged it requires a diffrent process aboard a cap ship or base.

 

 

You should really re-think your claim of scientific acumen if you think a solar panel of any type can collect more energy than a star emits. Even if you got 100% energy capture from a solar panel in ideal circumstances, at the distances which habitable worlds orbit the sun there isn't nearly enough energy to collect at the areas we're discussing for them to power their ships or fire multi-GW laser cannons.

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**I do not in general agree with Black Knight Leader**

 

Photons actually can impart kinetic energy.  That's basically the reasoning behind the concept of solar sails.  You can insert math and physics here if you want, but photons do have momentum, even though they have no mass.  So while they themselves do not have kinetic energy per se, you don't need to have kinetic energy to create kinetic energy.  Only total energy in conserved, not any particular subtype of energy.

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dbmeboy: Back of the envelope calculation. For a 1MW laser hitting 1cm^2 of a perfect reflector at a right angle (i.e. no thermal damage here) the radiation pressure would impart 66.71 N/m^2 (66.71 Pa). Compare this to surface atmospheric pressure on earth at 101325 N/m^2 (101325 Pa).

For Black Knight Leader: This is equivalent to the force of a 0.68g weight on the same area in earth normal gravity. So not a huge amount of force. Of course this is reduced as the surface is a less perfect reflector or is at an angle. Not a lot of energy being transferred here relative to the thermal effects.

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**I do not in general agree with Black Knight Leader**

 

Photons actually can impart kinetic energy.  That's basically the reasoning behind the concept of solar sails.  You can insert math and physics here if you want, but photons do have momentum, even though they have no mass.  So while they themselves do not have kinetic energy per se, you don't need to have kinetic energy to create kinetic energy.  Only total energy in conserved, not any particular subtype of energy.

Yes, I'm sorry, you're right. I realized that as soon as I hit "Post".

 

But the kinetic energy is negligible compared to the thermal energy, as Biliskner pointed out.

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Oh I agree that it's not much kinetic energy.  I just wanted to point out that saying "photons don't have kinetic energy so that can't impart kinetic energy" is faulty.  Because Science!

 

:)

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