Army successfully tests dramatic laser that can shoot down...
New system could protect troops in the field.
With extreme precision, the latest publicly-acknowledged Army toy has passed all of its examinations and will be upgraded for possible battlefield use. A special laser designed to shoot down drones and artillery shells in flight has been evaluated.
A different laser, the THEL has already been evaluated by the military. Weaponized lasers will likely come into regular use within the next decade.
According to the military, the system uses radar to pinpoint moving objects, then hits them with a beam of energy about the width of a quarter.
That bean is so powerful, it causes the target object to explode. In this case, 90 of those objects were mortar rounds, which is a singular feat.
On the Napoleonic battlefield, the mortar was a cannon that had more in common with a kettle than the typical artillery gun and was used to decimate walled fortifications by lobbing an explosive ball on a high arc where it could land and explode atop enemy walls.
The modern version of the mortar is much smaller and can be crewed by as few as two men. The mortar rounds are hand-held and dropped into a tube with a firing pin at the bottom. The shell then flies a high, arching pattern to land atop its intended target. Mortars are light and quick to deploy, and provide swift, light artillery support to troops.
They have also been used by terrorists to quickly strike targets and escape.
Despite the small size and high arc of the shells, the HWLMD system can shoot these shells out of the sky with pinpoint accuracy. Eventually the system could be deployed to protect troops in the field and possibly larger buildings on the ground such as embassies and government installations.
Boeing is designing the system and says they will now develop the system to make it larger and more capable of hitting fast-moving targets such as missiles. If it works, it will provide troops in the field with a powerful shield, under which they can accomplish missions and walk out alive.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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