I know it sounds futuristic, but soldiers in the US army may soon enough be equipped with laser weapons to use against all foes. As a matter of fact, we are already in the future…well, almost. According to Army for Research and Technology deputy assistant Mary J. Miller, tests with BIG lasers are being carried as we speak, and they could be deployed for live action as soon as 2023.
The laser concept was first developed in 1960, and it works by making large numbers of atoms diffuse light particles called photons that have the same wavelength. Contrary to the visible light which holds independent photons of multiple wavelengths, lasers emanate ‘intelligible’ photons that can sustain a compact and defined beam over long distances. This makes the laser beam a deadly and precise tool, as it can focus tremendous amounts of energy on a single area, making it the most viable weapon for a future scenario.
Although laser are found in day-by-day products such as DVD readers, the amount of energy they generate only makes them suitable for commercial use. In order to develop a deadly laser weapon, a massive amount of energy is needed to power up a destructive beam, and so far scientists haven’t been able to develop a small-sized weapon with the technology at hand. However, the US military has been trying since the 90s to power up such laser weapons. At that point in time, the US Air Force used the energy generated by a chemical reaction to power the device, but ended up with a weapon only usable on a Boeing 747. So how is a soldier going to wield that you might ask?
There has been a significant progress in the years that followed, and the military is now using coiled optical fibers to create the high energy influx needed to generate a destructive laser beam. They have successfully developed a laser cannon that can fire disintegrating beams from aboard a warship or even atop a military jet. It can disintegrate a drone and even destroy small boats with a single charge. If you don’t believe this’ possible, see for yourself in the video below.
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The assembling of new compact laser devices brings the US military one step closer to producing devastating high-powered laser cannons. Now imagine ground or even air vehicles equipped with such penetrable weaponry in the near future. It sure changes the way we perceive war, and it can help end conflicts way faster and even save the lives of many soldiers.
According to Miller, such weapons could change from prototype to deployment stage in a matter of years, and she assures us that this new type of weapons won’t be authorized until the military performs all the needed tests.
Lasers have been promised for a long time, but they’ve never held up and delivered what was asked for, so the operators are rightfully skeptical. That’s why the army is taking lasers out into operational environments and testing them, she added in a statement.
Although the military revealed one of their prototypes, it’s likely that they already have the technology well in place and only waiting for the opportune moment to make it public. If a global conflict will arise in the near future, I am confident that the US military will release all their new toys upon the battlefront, and I won’t be surprised to see other world powers answering correspondently. Hopefully that day won’t come anytime soon, and lasers will only be used in shaping a better future for humanity, but I guess we’ll never know what the next day will bring.