Harry Pettit | UK Sun | Source URL
HEAVILY-ARMOURED vehicles loaded with laser cannons will be deployed by the US Army within the next three years.
The upcoming weapon systems each chew through enough energy to power several homes and can take down drones, helicopters and incoming missiles.
Officially known as "directed energy lasers", they'll hit battlefields in the year 2022 attached to a platoon of four vehicles, an army report stated.
"The time is now to get directed energy weapons to the battlefield," Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, said in the report.
"The Army recognises the need for directed energy lasers as part of the Army's modernisation plan.
"This is no longer a research effort or a demonstration effort. It is a strategic combat capability, and we are on the right path to get it in Soldiers' hands."
Army researchers have worked on the weapon for several years.
High energy lasers travel at the speed of light and are one way the Army plans to defend itself from new aerial threats, according to an Army release.
The extreme temperatures they produce is able to simply melt enemy craft in an instant.
Aerial threats of concern to US troops include drones loaded with guns or explosives.
The nimble craft have been used in several attacks in recent years and are notoriously difficult to shoot out of the sky with conventional weaponry.
The new laser cannons will be loaded onto US Army "Stryker" vehicles – eight-wheeled, all-terrain beasts that can hit speeds of 60 mph.
The cannons looks like a large, black bulb jutting from the rear of the vehicles, and are used to defend against air threats.
It produces a whopping 50 kilowatts of power – about the same amount needed to power three homes.
As well as drones and missiles, the laser could be used to take down some fixed-wing aircraft, according to the Army.
Several laser beams could be directed at a target at once to burn holes through larger foes.
It's not yet clear where they will be deployed, nor how many the US Army plans to produce in future.
The Royal Navy is working on a £30million scheme to build powerful lasers to protect our ships from missiles.
In other news, the Royal Navy is testing a new weapon that uses a powerful laser to slice through enemies.
Russia recently showed off its "ground force" of killer robots in an unsettling video.
Terrifying space weapons of the future
Here are three of the scariest...
Rods from God
- A strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed "rods from the God" and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.
- Instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are deployed.
- These would be made out of tungsten — a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth's atmosphere.
- One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth's atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.
- Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon — but crucially creating no radiation fall out.
- As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report recently revealed the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.
Molten metal cannons
- This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
- It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.
- This game changing rail-gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.
- The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside.
Space force ships
- Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.
- The top secret American XS-1 under development by DARPA.
- It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.
- Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.