Of all types of weapons based on new physical principles more effectively seems attainable laser cannon. Their main advantage over other classes of «ordinary» guns of course — momentary energy spread. But the main problem in the development of combat lasers — energy. On Chinese and American developments, global trends in the development of laser guns reflects the deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Alexander Hramchihin.
Of all types of weapons based on new physical principles (of them discussed in the article «Prospects miracle weapon») is actually more attainable seems laser gun, especially because lasers have long been used in the Sun (as rangefinders and as a means of targeting and missile guidance ).
Their main advantage over other classes of «ordinary» guns of course — momentary energy spread. Even from a rocket or missile can dodge from the laser not uverneshsya. The main problem in the development of combat lasers — energy.
Pretty hard to make a compact energy source, providing the necessary power laser to destroy targets as small cooling system (laser efficiency is quite low, it allocates much much heat). Moreover, the efficiency of the optical spectrum of the laser gun is very depending on atmospheric conditions.
With all of this possible battle laser will solve the same tasks, which currently decide rockets and artillery, as it should, it should be cheaper and more efficient blocked.
In this regard, it is very difficult to imagine the creation of anti-lasers (for burning armor handy very large capacity, which also must be generated extremely compact source).
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Several realistic lasers based air and missile defense, as a thin-walled air target (airplane, helicopter, rocket) damage easier than armored vehicle, with all the restrictions on the dimensions of this energy source for laser defense will be even less.
But on the other hand, due to the highest speed missiles and aircraft will be quite difficult to immediately focus on these goals sufficient energy to destroy them (even more so that the missiles from time to time to the same turn in flight). And it will be hard to laser, if the target is covered with pictures, perfectly reflecting the radiation.
More promising are of cosmic lasers
For a long time it seemed that the more promising are of cosmic lasers, because they do not interfere with the atmosphere. In the 80-ies. of cosmic battle of lasers were that their creation will be in 15-20 years.
Since that time has passed for 30 years, but again lasers promise in another 15-20 years. USA and the USSR had a lot of tests in the field. In these tests, they seem to achieved certain success, which, but achieved in the criteria, it is very distant from the actual fighting, and those only confirmed the fact that at this stage of scientific and technological development of the creation of this military laser does not seem likely.
Hitherto unable to solve prepyadstviya power dissipation and beam (even in space, even more so — in the atmosphere). Because of this, the vast majority of the respective programs were closed, having to absorb large funds.
The latest example of such failure is a South American programm ABL airborne laser on a Boeing 747-400F, designed to destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase. The program was developed 14 years, but to achieve the desired beam power and failed.
Airborne laser on a Boeing 747-400F
At present the only real standard laser guns created in China. It is installed on the tank 99 and the Tour is designed to dazzle and optical devices of the enemy gunner antitank weapons.
Israel. Massive laser cannon capable of destroying in flight and artillery shells
The second could be Israel, who wanted to make a laser system to destroy the munitions in flight, but this programm was closed due to low efficiency.
Lasers-range style Reagan SDI still a long time (or even forever) will remain a fantasy. In general, work on their reation last in the U.S. and China.
In the foreseeable future, most likely, more or less just really not of cosmic creation, created to destroy ICBMs and their warheads, and land and naval combat lasers short-range (tactical).
Not counting the blind the enemy they are created to solve problems of air defense, including the fight against cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions and small-sized UAVs, including small.
If you focus specifically on a small range of defeat, even easier to solve the main prepyadstviya laser guns: beam scattering and loss of power. Namely, the above programm laser airborne ABL transformed at this point in program from ATL (Advanced Tactical Laser) with the installation of military laser not on the tremendous Boeing 747, and more moderate «Hercules» C-130H.
Tactical High Energy Laser THEL
Ground tactical laser defense created in the U.S. programmke THEL. It participates and Israel, which, as mentioned above, the laser was going to destroy artillery ammunition (first — Rockets).
Identical projects try to translate Germany and France, while the French are willing to cooperate tactical laser defense (land or ship-based) with guns and anti-aircraft missiles, creating a truly universal set.
Quite promising carriers laser guns defense could be airships (this was discussed in the article «Return it zeppelins?»), Since even smaller weight and size restrictions on the payload.
In general, while there are none in the U.S. is considered the ability to install lasers on military transport and passenger planes to attack issued by him SAM (including — of MANPADS during takeoff and landing aircraft). Precisely not themselves Zour, and their guidance systems.
In addition, a number of states, right behind China, does not lethal (blinding) laser cannon. Namely, in France developed a corresponding laser gun, which, in general, only in black excellent time.
So Makar, lasers in the combat system so far not got, is not visible and projects that could be realized in the near future. Ie on a theoretical level and even now could create combat lasers, but they are seriously inferior to the aspect of «cost-effectiveness» missiles.
And there is a big possibility that this situation will not change (at least, in the foreseeable future). Because combat lasers, if any, will most likely take quite a narrow niche blinding soldiers of the opposing army and optical devices, as liquidation of small tactical UAV.