HELLADS: Lightweight Laser Cannon
DARPA's HELLADS (High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System) will be light enough to fit on a fighter jet or drone aircraft, and yet powerful enough to fire a 150 kilowatt beam of energy. Star Wars laser cannon may be closer than you think.
(Star Wars Laser Cannons)
High energy laser weapons already in development are powerful enough to bring down missiles (see MTHEL - Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser). However, their very large size has precluded placement on any but the largest planes. The main weight problem comes from the cooling systems needed.
HELLADS makes use of a unique cooling technique. The high-energy laser uses a liquid that has the same angle of refraction as the mirrors inside the blaster. That way, the "ray gun" can fire away, even while it's being cooled. Currently in the third of five phases of development, a 15 kilowatt subscale prototype is being tested in the laboratory. In the next phase, the demonstrator device will be scaled up to 150 kW, and will specifically be targeted to achieve the low specific weight (5 kg/kW) and compact size need to be mounted in a smaller airborne vehicle. The final phase is engineering, fabricating, integrating and demonstrating the complete HELLADS weapon system on a tactical platform. The device will be built by General Atomics and the tracking system will be built by Lockheed.
This kind of compact system is getting very close to what science fiction writers since H.G. Wells have envisioned when writing about the heat ray in War of the Worlds. More recently, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote about laser cannon in their 1974 novel Mote in God's Eye:
..."The intruder came from here. Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon, or a set of laser cannon - probably a whole mess of them on asteroids, with mirrors to focus them - for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...
(Read more about laser cannon)
Read more at MTHEL, Playing with Liquid Fire: High Energy Lasers Cool Down, HELLADS (at DARPA).
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/25/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 12 )
Related News Stories -
ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.' - Poul Anderson, 1966.
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...' - Daniel Suarez, 2012.
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day.
Ford's Autonomous Cabs 'Transportation As A Service'
'He was glad to crawl into his autocab and close the cover.'
Sex In Driverless Cars?
'...admirable for petting.'
Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'
Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'
Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'
FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'
Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."
Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'
Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'
MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories