Energy Cannon Now On Order

A $21 million contract for 150 kilowatt energy cannon has been awarded to Textron Defense Systems. The money is to "fabricate and test a Unit Cell Module for a 150 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LWS) and develop a critical design for the 150kW LWS".

This system was covered in a previous article - see HELLADS: High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System. The new weapons are significantly lighter than those envisioned in 2005. Originally the HELLADS system was to use a liquid laser medium pumped by light-emitting diodes - hence the name - but Textron now say they will be using "proprietary ThinZag® Ceramic solid-state" tech.

The new lightweight design would allow placement in many different classes of aircraft.

I knew I had heard the expression "energy cannon" about forty years ago; here's a pretty early reference from Jack Vance's marvelous 1967 novel The Last Castle.

All the gentlemen of Janeil were erudite in at least one realm of knowledge. Certain were mathematical theoreticians, others had made a profound study of the physical sciences.

Some of these, with a detail of Peasants to perform the sheer physical exertion, attempted to restore the energy-cannon to functioning condition. Unluckily, the cannon had not been maintained in good order...
(Read more about Vance's energy-cannon)

From DARPA orders 'fridge-sized' laser energy cannon.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/11/2008)

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