Future weapons - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Military vehicles, aircraft, ships, guns and other military equipment. Plus any general military discussions that don't belong elsewhere on the board.

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By Ummon
#14401917
A thread for discussion of possible future weapons systems and/or their development and/or effect on military conflict/geopolitical effects or strategy

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=80172 (laser system)

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=80055 (railgun)

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=80055 (railgun video)

http://physics.le.ac.uk/journals/index. ... ew/678/486 (plasma encased in magnetic field to deflect lasers [theoretical at this point])
By OllytheBrit
#14484756
Why not use nature? For example, to somehow introduce Ebola into the enemy camp would soon decrease numbers. Image
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By Typhoon
#14485360
So how close are we to the future?

Laser weapons in the military are not new but have previously focused on interference rather than destruction, though there have been a plethora of experimental systems to date (THEL, ATL etc.).

As lasers become more powerful and mobile the fielding of lasers as weapons is becoming more common. Initially they have been used over short distances against things like mines as in the 'Laser Ordnance Neutralization System' which was deployed by the US in Afghanistan in 2003. Next year Israel will field 'Iron Beam' a laser designed to compensate for some of the deficiencies 'Iron Dome' against Palestinian mortars, China has also developed the 'Dikong Weishi' an anti-UAV system, all these systems are effective over a few kilometers.

The ultimate offensive system today remains the Boeing 'YAL-1', though an experimental system and not operationally effective it was able to engage a ballistic target over several (perhaps tens of) kilometers. Russia has picked up the concept but as a more realistic anti-satellite weapon on the principal of interference in the 'Sokol Eshelon' program.

The railgun remains entirely experimental, the main interest appears to be in Naval gunnery but we are only just seeing ships with the power and other infrastructure that might be able to support a railgun (i.e. the troubled DDG-1000 Zumwalt class). Together with power hungry sensors and direct energy weapons a return to the atomic cruiser may be the only way forward for a feasible platform. Though advances in hypersonic missiles and direct energy weapons will likely make the railgun a false start entirely.

Shields are not even close to reality as yet. Protection focuses on advanced composite armor with dynamic elements. Electronic and physical deception (avoiding detection in the first place) remains important aspects. So active protection systems like 'Arena' and 'Trophy' which work to intercept the threat before its impact are probably the closest to shields we have today.

[youtube]vMY0p_2KrYg[/youtube]
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By Thunderhawk
#14489448
Typhoon wrote:So how close are we to the future?

Laser weapons in the military are not new but have previously focused on interference rather than destruction, though there have been a plethora of experimental systems to date (THL, ATL etc.).

As I understand it, weapons that blind are prohibited. I wonder what kind of power output lasers would need (and at what frequency) to be effective and not fall under the blinding category.

The railgun remains entirely experimental, the main interest appears to be in Naval gunnery but we are only just seeing ships with the power and other infrastructure that might be able to support a railgun (i.e. the troubled DDG-1000 Zumwalt class). Together with power hungry sensors and direct energy weapons a return to the atomic cruiser may be the only way forward for a feasible platform. Though advances in hypersonic missiles and direct energy weapons will likely make the railgun a false start entirely.

1) Coil guns come to mind.
2) As effective defences develop, missiles might not be as ubiquitous as they are now, and a return to kinetic energy weapons might ensue.
By OllytheBrit
#14489518
But if my suggestion were to be implemented it wouldn't cost anything, and I actually believe it is the future of warfare. Mind you, the arms manufacturers and dealers wouldn't be best pleased!
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By Thunderhawk
#14490872
OllytheBrit wrote:But if my suggestion were to be implemented it wouldn't cost anything, and I actually believe it is the future of warfare. Mind you, the arms manufacturers and dealers wouldn't be best pleased!

Biological (and chemical) weapons are well known to current and former powers.
By OllytheBrit
#14490929
Thunderhawk wrote:Biological (and chemical) weapons are well known to current and former powers.


Yes I know, but they need to be manufactured and militarily delivered.
By Diligent
#14491313
OllytheBrit wrote:Yes I know, but they need to be manufactured and militarily delivered.


Not surgical or precise enough. Extremely difficult to control and localize after delivery. Massive international stigma attached to their usage.
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By roxunreal
#14505412
Thunderhawk wrote:Laser weapons in the military are not new but have previously focused on interference rather than destruction, though there have been a plethora of experimental systems to date (THL, ATL etc.).
As I understand it, weapons that blind are prohibited. I wonder what kind of power output lasers would need (and at what frequency) to be effective and not fall under the blinding category.


Readily available laser pointers working at over ~50mW can seriously damage the eye, ones at over 125-ish mW can pop balloons almost instantly, as well as light matches and paper on fire, there are a plethora of videos of people doing this on youtube. There were handheld laser pointers stronger than 1W on the market a few years ago, I haven't followed the market but it's likely there are even much stronger ones up for grabs now. 1W laser pointers can burn dark plastic. I doubt weaker laser beams would really be sufficient for military use, though I'm by no means an expert and maybe there are ways and methods to make them work for jamming purposes...
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By Typhoon
#14505755
Thunderhawk wrote:As I understand it, weapons that blind are prohibited. I wonder what kind of power output lasers would need (and at what frequency) to be effective and not fall under the blinding category.


As Rox says even quite low power commercially available laser pointers can harm the eye. The convention is also focussed on laser weapons specifically designed to cause blindness, a lot of equipment for even benign purposes (e.g. rangefinders) may well put out enough energy to cause serious damage to unprotected eyesight.
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By One Degree
#14545060
All the 'rules' for modern warfare are leading us to the Star Trek episode where two planets fight one another in computer simulations for 500 years. The governments then execute their own casualties.

We need to bring more civilian casualties into war, not less.
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#14729055
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