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US to develop high-powered anti-aircraft laser cannon

Uncle Sam continues to experiment with non-projectile weapons; he is currently working on a formidable anti-aircraft laser cannon.

General Atomics, one of the leaders in the US defense and energy industry has partnered with aircraft manufacturer Boeing to develop a revolutionary weapon prototype for the US military. The duo have in fact landed a contract that will allow them to develop the DG-HELWS, a formidable anti-aircraft laser cannon.

This equipment, whose full acronym stands for Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System will be able to produce a beam of impressive power, up to 300 kw ! For comparison, a consumer microwave must be content to deliver 850 to 3000 watts. This weapon is therefore designed to cause immense damage in a very short time. His destruction potential would even be “superior to anything the army has today on the ground”According to Scott Forney, president of the Electromagnetic Systems chez General Atomics.

With equipment like this capable of causing considerable damage at great distances and with surgical precision, the possibilities are endless. This DG-HEWLS could undoubtedly destroy any small drone in a fraction of a second… but that would surely be wasting its immense potential. Instead, engineers are aiming bigger.

No more small fry, Uncle Sam wants big game

They thus hope to be able to cut down real combat vehicles, potentially armed to the teeth. It goes from hunters of helicopters, through the drones of fight and the ballistic missiles. In any case, this would be a considerable advance compared to the tests carried out so far. For example, the M-SHORAD that we were telling you about last August stopped at the general public quadcopters stadium.

As always when it comes to such sensitive weaponry or technology, the communicated spotted by Gizmodo is extremely poor in technical detail. However, we know that this weapon will benefit from GA’s expertise to generate the beam. Boeing, for its part, will be responsible for the precision instruments that will be used to acquire, aim and follow the target.

Traditionally, military lasers often operate in combining several spokes thanks to a network of optical fiber. But this technology has very crippling limits; Fiber laser weapons have the annoying habit of overheating quickly. In the current state of technology, it is very difficult to envisage an application to overpowered lasers like that of the DG-HEWLS.

Unsurprisingly, he will therefore use another system, but does not specify which one; according to Future, it could be a set of lenses. But difficult to verify this information without technical documents; to find out more, we will therefore have to hope that the two groups are authorized to present their work to the public. Unfortunately, this is very unlikely to happen. In any case, one thing is certain: unidentified flying objects have better watch out!

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