Monday, February 21, 2011
One of the US Navy's priorities for future weapons is the free electron laser (FEL) - your basic "death ray." This article from WIRED report on a breakthrough, running a test model on land at 500,000 volts, which the writer tells us can burn through 20 feet of steel per second. Yes, per second. A lot remains to be done before this is a practical weapon: it's too big, too fragile, too power-hungry to be put on current ships. But the Navy sees this as the future solution for defending ships from cruise missiles, aircraft, even ballistic missiles.