Laser Weapons

Anatomy of War: “Pulling the Future Forward”

An artist’s depiction of an AH-64 Apache “Longbow” attack helicopter mounting the new Raytheon laser weapon beneath one of its stubby wings

Raytheon reports that they have successfully conducted a field test whereby an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter acquired and hit an unmanned target using a high energy laser. Its not clear what type of damage was inflicted on the stationary target, nor the rate at which the weapon can be recharged so that it can engage other targets. Since the helicopter is shown mounting Hellfire missiles, we will presume that the crew may have to wait while the weapon is fully operational before using the weapon again. Moreover, its not clear if the weapon can be fired at moving targets, hence the need for back up ordnance. Here’s a link to the article: http://www.raytheon.com/news/feature/high_energy_laser.html

If true, this all but negates the Afghanit active protection system being bolted on to the new Russian T-14 Armata main battle tank. At the time of this writing, I am not sure of any means of defeating a laser weapon, even if the target had the requisite time to respond to the threat.

 
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