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"Advanced Tactical Laser


"New weapon could mean the end of collateral damage

"The U.S. military has been developing a gunship that could literally obliterate enemy ground targets with a laser beam.


The military plans to test the Advanced Tactical Laser, a laser weapon mounted on a C-130H air transport that could destroy any weapon system without collateral damage.


The laser could have tremendous repercussions on the battlefield, particularly in urban warfare in such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq. "It's the kind of tool that could bring about victory within minutes," an official said."  .................

Entry #166


Comment by jim695 - February 1, 2006, 11:37 pm
Where do you dig this stuff up???

The Air Force commissioned a study for the viability of energy-based weapons in 1986, and the ATL emerged as the most cost-effective model to fulfill command requirements. What appeals to the military is the fact that it's completely solid-state, so there are no moving parts to wear out or maintain. It's also quite devastating, but it's more of a particle beam than a true laser.

It was my understanding that this technology wouldn't be available for another five years or so. The targeting software used by the ATL is also new technology, as it will use heat signatures, movement and, believe it or not, sound waves to find its targets; the enemy will literally have no place to hide. The new software will interface with AWACS and E2-C early warning systems, so that explains its ten-mile range. The last I heard, a major bug in the ATL was the fact that it couldn't follow a horizon line. Since lasers travel in a straight line, it's nearly impossible to bend the beam to a predetermined degree and have it stay there in order to follow the surface curvature of the Earth over a long distance. Another problem is that low-energy laser beams tend to break up in a relatively short time, simply because they can't maintain energy at the far end of the beam. Or at least they couldn't; evidently, the engineers have managed to overcome these obstacles but, for the life of me, I can't imagine how they did it.

I'd appreciate it if you could post any subsequent information you might find on this project, especially anything concerning the upcoming tests. This really surprised me. This project was highly classified last December; I couldn't even get a status report for it.
konaneComment by konane - February 2, 2006, 9:30 am
Found the link on Drudge last night which is the very first I'd heard about this weapon except for science fiction speculation. Happy to post anything else I find about it.

Hey it would have been a tremendous boon had it been fully developed for Iraq and should work well in Afghanistan, Pakistan border. Seems to answer many objections to current dilemmas.

My take on declassification is to let both Iran and Syria know their days are numbered ... that it won't take as many boots on the ground to rid the Middle East of terror nests, etc.

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