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January 30, 2013

Pentagon Rallies for Laser Technology Testing in 2014

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), developers of major technological advancements including computer networking and NLS, will be putting technology stemming from its High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System technology to use as early as 2014 throughout a series of ground-based firing tests. 

On January 17th, the Pentagon issued a statement that a new type of laser weapon will be used for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air force to deter threats against U.S. warplanes.

Fox News states: “Past military testing included much larger laser weapons, such as the megawatt-class laser weapon that flew aboard a modified Boeing (News - Alert) 747 during the cancelled Airborne Laser Test Bed program (1 megawatt is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts).”

In this regard, similar defense lasers (like the Northrop Grumman (News - Alert) chemical high-energy lasers used on the Airborne Laser Test Bed) have had problems in their effectiveness when confronted with variables such as dust particles, aerosols, and weather conditions. 

To compensate for these shortcomings, the new laser weapons will be 150-kilowatts and could be as much as 10 times smaller and lighter than current lasers using similar power, and will eventually be fitted aboard fighter jets. 

While arming planes and drones with the airborne lasers may not dramatically alter warfare and defense as much as robots and drones themselves, the potential use for airborne lasers remains to be seen.   Directional laser technology could be used for surgical strikes, and to destroy rockets, artillery and mortar rounds in flight. The lasers could also act offensively against ground targets. 

Laser technology has seen its share of innovations with gamma, high-powered, solid-state, x-ray, neutral particle beam, and rail gun forms all offering different applications. With the new High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System technology being so compact and lightweight, the Pentagon hopes that the technology will go further than others have in the defense realm. Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, happening now in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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