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Next-gen US drone: now equipped with ‘death ray’ laser

RT News

The next generation of military drones, unveiled by a leading US manufacturer, will not just carry a limited supply of rockets – but will likely be fitted with an ultra-light laser, capable of repeatedly destroying objects at the speed of light.

“It would give us an unlimited magazine,” a person close to the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program told Time magazine.

Over the past four years, the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) has given contractor General Atomics over $60 million to develop and then scale HELLADS – a powerful 150 kW ray with a difference.

Current lasers of that strength – enough to destroy an incoming rocket or plane – are bulky, which means they can only be placed on stationary defense systems.

HELLADS, which DARPA says is in the “final development stage,” is radically lighter. It will weigh only 750 kilograms – less than a very small car.

This vastly opens up its potential uses.

A key application of HELLADS is in the new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones.

In a digital video advertising its own Predator C Avenger drone, General Atomics shows a formation of UAVs annihilating a shower of ground-launched interceptor missiles in a split second, before making them an offensive weapon and targeting objects on the ground.

The capacity of the laser is likely to be multiplied by the capability of the Predator itself. General Atomics believes the most efficient use of the relatively cheap, high-speed drones will be as a large “swarm” of integrated units that can overcome even a large defense network, at the expense of a small amount mechanical casualties.

The bold claims have to be weighed against several reservations.

Neither the UAV nor the laser have reached mass production stage, and although it is evident that the US Air Force sees drones as crucial to its future, the success of the Predator is not yet guaranteed.

Another is the natural limitation of the laser. While it can be easily recharged and work for hours on end, unlike a conventional missile, a laser weapon cannot easily penetrate clouds or smoke with its rays. Essentially, HELLADS will have to see its target before it can shoot it, making its use most likely against missiles and enemy planes, rather than ground-based targets.

Proponents of the new generation of lasers say that despite their nickname of “death rays,” lasers will help to reduce collateral damage with their precision, and mute the ethical criticism that has dogged drones since they have become the preferred method for picking out specific US targets.

Russia, Israel and other leading arms manufacturers say they are working on their own versions of similar portable lasers, though the US developments appear to be at a more advanced stage.

Predator C Avenger (Image from www.kollected.com)
Predator C Avenger (Image from www.kollected.com)

http://rt.com/news/hellads-drone-predator-darpa-762/

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4 Responses to Next-gen US drone: now equipped with ‘death ray’ laser

  1. NC says:

    “Proponents of the new generation of lasers say that despite their nickname of “death rays,” lasers will help to reduce collateral damage with their precision, and mute the ethical criticism that has dogged drones since they have become the preferred method for picking out specific US targets.”

    OH! Well then, since you put it that way, I guess it’s OK to have lasers weapons then. You know, since it reduces collateral damage and all. (sarcasm)

    Once again, curing the symptom, but not the root of the problem because otherwise, that just wouldn’t be good business. Just like the Pharmaceutical companies. These people are F**KING MONSTERS!! They won’t stop until our whole planet is destroyed.

    Terminator and skynet are becoming more and more of a reality as the days go by.

    • # 1 NWO Hatr says:

      This one was mentioned in a comment yesterday by Whizerd67 on the invisibility article.

      “Proponents of the new generation of lasers say that despite their nickname of “death rays,” lasers will help to reduce collateral damage with their precision……”

      Since WHEN has collateral damage ever been a consideration for these murdering scum?

      I must admit though, the green is much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than the tired old red ones. lol

      Just as deadly, no doubt.

  2. Jolly Roger says:

    Did anybody actually see this thing work, or is this more of the usual high-tech fear mongering we’re being bombarded with?

    I could be wrong, but it was my understanding that laser technology was a long way off from being able to do something like this.

    • # 1 NWO Hatr says:

      Sorry, when I tried to get into the demonstration, I was informed that my double super-secret probation from my college days was still in effect.

      Damn Neidermeyer!

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