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 -
TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.' - Keith Laumer, 1976.
Railguns For Surface Ships
'It was simply a long solenoid that threw little steel bullets...' - John W. Campbell, 1933.
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.
Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'
HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."
Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'
DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'
A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?
Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'
Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'
PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'
Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'
Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'
U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?
Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'
Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.
easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.
Meet Assist-e Honda's Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'
Kalashnikov's One-Seater Hovercraft
Not for windy days.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories