Military Review

The main problems of the prototype shipborne combat laser being tested in the USA

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The main problems of the prototype shipborne combat laser being tested in the USA

In the USA, work continues to increase the power of the laser weapons without a significant increase in the volume of the power supply system. At this stage, the United States concentrated the main work on the creation of ship-based combat laser systems. This suggests that there are still serious problems with the compactness of the batteries supplying the installation in the States.


At the same time, information about the emergence of additional problems during testing of prototypes of future shipborne combat lasers is leaked to the press.

One of these tests was carried out about 4 months ago. Then a prototype combat laser was tested aboard the USS Portland (LPD-27) transport dock ship of the US Navy. A drone was chosen as the target for the laser installation. At the same time, as noted, the tests were relatively successful only when a number of factors were taken into account: the drone was hit while flying at low altitudes, the time of exposure to the laser beam for the UAV to start igniting had to reach at least 15 s. However, the tests were officially declared successful, and it was also added that the result of the development should be a combat laser as a means of naval air defense - to counteract, including enemy aircraft.

In the use of a combat laser system being tested in the United States as a full-fledged air defense system, problems arise. For obvious reasons, no professional military pilot will simply allow a laser system to "focus" on a fighter for 15 seconds or more. In addition, the used 30 kilowatt model shows unsatisfactory results of combat effectiveness at high altitudes and in low cloud cover. So, the scattering of the laser beam grows critically at altitudes of 8 km. This effect is called tropospheric scattering, when microscopic particles of frozen moisture make their negative contribution to the laser. To inflict at least some tangible harm on a fighter that appears at an altitude of 8-9 km above a US warship, it will take a prohibitive time to "capture" an aircraft with a combat laser - more than a minute. For obvious reasons, these are unthinkable values, given the speed and maneuverability of modern fighters.

But the scattering of the laser beam also grows seriously when it passes through clouds at much lower altitudes. In other words, if a drone or an airplane enters the cloud layer, then they will actually be out of reach for the ship's laser installation.

Another problem with the US shipborne combat laser being tested is the need to use additional security systems for the electrical equipment of the warship. The use of a combat laser requires a lot of energy, and the very process of such an application can lead to a threat to the stable operation of the ship's support systems.

Video from testing a prototype combat laser (May 2020):

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  1. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 20 September 2020 12: 52 New
    +2
    The laser is not a panacea, but an addition to the ship's air defense system. If you do not burn the device itself, then it will be able to blind the drone's optics. True, while such an addition is very expensive ...
    1. Vol4ara
      Vol4ara 20 September 2020 13: 00 New
      +3
      Quote: Mountain Shooter
      The laser is not a panacea, but an addition to the ship's air defense system. If you do not burn the device itself, then it will be able to blind the drone's optics. True, while such an addition is very expensive ...

      What kind of drones did they decide to shoot them down? Which drone would decide to fly closer than 8 km to the ship and why? Bomb with free-fall bombs and torpedoes? When there is a PCR ... Shoot down missiles with a laser ... MB MB. But now hypersound is entering the arena. A hypersonic missile will cover the distance from "laser is completely ineffective" to "missile penetrates the side" in a second
      1. Phoenix
        Phoenix 20 September 2020 13: 22 New
        +3
        it is rather to counter the Barmaley flying machines from garages. missiles on them are clearly too much. the RIM-162 ESSM rocket costs over a million bucks apiece. so it turns out that there is something to fight off serious goals, and a flock of radio models can peck at the ship .... the idea is sensible, the trouble is that competitors have been working for a long time and the ovs have all some problems. works for example for the Germans - called HEL.
        1. hrych
          hrych 20 September 2020 14: 00 New
          +8
          Quote: Phoenix
          Germans call HEL

          It's time to remember our dear, so to speak, Comrade Peresvet, who is already on experimental combat duty. He guards our ICBM mines. And unlike mounting on a ship, our size was able to become ground-mobile. The size of a large truck was kept within. There are two main issues in disputes. The first, they say, does it burn through the target or only light up the enemy's optical detectors. And the second question is whether he has a YSU. The questions are interrelated, because for the illumination of detectors, a powerful power plant and an overall quantum generator are not required. But we see a powerful quantum generator. We see a "telescope" -sight (for some reason, in some of the drawn pictures, a red ray is drawn from it laughing ) and a laser target designator, which would be enough to illuminate electronic-optical devices. But as always, Deputy Defense Minister Borisov blurted out earlier: “Laser systems have entered service, which make it possible to disarm a potential enemy and hit all those objects that serve as a target for the laser beam of this system. Our NUCLEARS have learned to concentrate the energy necessary to destroy the corresponding weapons of the enemy practically in moments, in a matter of fractions of a second ”. Those. or we have a pulsed quantum generator with fast charging of a capacitor bank of a powerful but compact NES. Or, in general, a reactor-laser, in which the fission energy is directly converted into laser radiation. Well, it is no coincidence that Peresvet makes the Sarov nuclear center.
      2. Grazdanin
        Grazdanin 20 September 2020 13: 31 New
        -4
        Quote: Vol4ara
        What kind of drones did they decide to shoot them down?

        Chinese, "terrorist"
        Quote: Vol4ara
        Which drone would decide to fly closer than 8 km to the ship and why?

        For reconnaissance, for striking (converted civilians, kamikaze drones)
        Quote: Vol4ara
        When there is a PCR ... Shoot down missiles with a laser

        This requires lasers of 300-600 kW, the next step after 150 kW.
        Quote: Vol4ara
        But now hypersound is entering the arena.

        Is not a fact. The effectiveness of this weapon is controversial.
      3. nod739
        nod739 21 September 2020 08: 01 New
        0
        At the same time, hypersound itself has colossal protection against overheating.
  2. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 20 September 2020 13: 02 New
    +5
    Laser - close air defense of the ship. It replaces anti-aircraft artillery, not missiles.
    1. strelokmira
      strelokmira 20 September 2020 14: 11 New
      +2
      Well, on a sunny day, it will replace, but how will the clouds gather over the ship, or God forbid the fog?)
      1. SovAr238A
        SovAr238A 20 September 2020 21: 49 New
        -2
        Quote: strelokmira
        Well, on a sunny day, it will replace, but how will the clouds gather over the ship, or God forbid the fog?)


        And you write this to Hrych in a coat, otherwise he is 100% with Peresvetov, like a laser weapon; protects our ICBM facilities from all types of danger ...
        And I'm wondering if you can negotiate our heroic reconnaissance laser beam and the infamous American spy Laser Beam ...
        1. strelokmira
          strelokmira 21 September 2020 02: 47 New
          0
          you write this to Hrych in his coat, otherwise he will be 100% with Peresvetov like a laser weapon; protects our ICBM facilities from all types of danger ...

          I somehow try to communicate with adequate people wink
    2. tralflot1832
      tralflot1832 20 September 2020 16: 03 New
      0
      The place of application is Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf. And in the Norwegian or Barents seas, in winter. When the wind breaks the tops of the waves, and from above it also pours snow, nothing can be seen beyond the tank. only in good, ideal weather and along the coastline there is a desert anywhere, that is, there is no precipitation. What is it for the gun today, we will not shoot foggy tomorrow. It looks like a cut. A couple of years will suffer and it will be the same as with a rail thrower, a railgun according to scientific ...
  3. RealPilot
    RealPilot 20 September 2020 13: 09 New
    +5
    Therefore, at present, a laser that burns the enemy is not a working concept. While it is.

    Energy-intensive technology, which is why the Americans place experimental installations on ships where there is a power reserve. But the disadvantage is the presence of pitching, that is, the complexity of the stabilization systems.

    Blinding missile guidance systems, especially IR-GOS, is very useful. And less power is needed.
    Blinding snipers through scopes is extremely inhumane, but better than physically eliminating it.
    An abundance of video cameras on various combat vehicles is a modern reality, and disabling them is an urgent need.

    Don't forget about lidars. They see the same stealth well. Very accurate.

    The laser can be very painful and non-lethal. A demoralized enemy simply flees from the battlefield; it is also acceptable to suppress uprisings.

    We already have the Peresvet complex. It is reported to be quite good.
    There were rumors about the use of a small-sized reactor to power it. If this is true, then a breakthrough in technology is not far off ...

    In general, the use of high and medium power lasers is justified. It's just that we haven't grown to "Star Wars" yet.
    1. Phoenix
      Phoenix 20 September 2020 13: 36 New
      +2
      There are no difficulties with stabilization on the ship. Back in the 1940s, they stabilized the sights for artillery towers that hit 20 kilometers ... As for the energy consumption, we are looking at a 50-kilowatt Turkish laser. There can be no talk about the need to place an American 30-kilowatt laser on a ship ...
      The Turks in Libya have already tested their miracle on a Chinese drone, the success is much brighter than the American attempts to screw something on the ship and shine a flashlight on the target for 15 seconds ...
      In the United States itself, a 50-kilowatt installation for an armored personnel carrier is in operation, again not a ship, but a more powerful installation.
      https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-military/turkish-laser-shoots-down-enemy-drone-libya-making-military-history
      https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/06/05/coming-soon-to-the-us-army-combat-capable-hypersonic-and-laser-weapons/
      1. Grazdanin
        Grazdanin 20 September 2020 13: 48 New
        +2
        In the USA, they put 30 kW lasers on the boxes for dazzling, but these are ships that are already in service, so they have little reserve in space and energy. The new frigates FFG (X) already have a reserve for a 150 kW laser.
      2. RealPilot
        RealPilot 20 September 2020 23: 44 New
        +1
        There are no difficulties with stabilization on the ship. Back in the 1940s, they stabilized the sights for artillery turrets that hit 20 kilometers ...


        There is a little subtlety here.
        Namely, in matters of accuracy.

        So, each wavelength allows you to get a spot of a certain size.
        For a carbon dioxide laser engraver, this spot is on the order of 10 microns. Fiber has about 1-2 microns. These are machines, at a distance of about 20 cm.
        In Bluray disk drives, the spot size is about 60 nm, the distance is a centimeter.

        At a distance of several kilometers, the spot size will be calculated in centimeters (depending on the focusing system, again) in diameter ...

        So, in order to set fire to even the slowest flying unprotected target, the positioning of the beam must be with centimeter accuracy! But this is the most difficult engineering task.
        A plane or a rocket flies, maneuvers, and even the carrier ship floats and sways.
  4. fa2998
    fa2998 20 September 2020 13: 12 New
    +3
    Quote: Mountain Shooter
    The laser is not a panacea, but an addition to the ship's air defense system. If you do not burn the device itself, then it will be able to blind the drone's optics. True, while such an addition is very expensive ...

    This is a prototype. Power is 30 kW. A modern ship has a power plant of 100 thousand hp, nuclear and more. It is on the ship that the first laser installations will appear. The volumes are large, the energy is high.
    They will achieve that the target is hit instantly, while it replaces (strengthens) the small-action air defense system (ZAK) against UAB and anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles.
    1. Grazdanin
      Grazdanin 20 September 2020 13: 20 New
      0
      Quote: fa2998
      It is on the ship that laser installations will be the first to appear.

      Have appeared. ODIN began to be serialized. Blinding laser.
  5. APASUS
    APASUS 20 September 2020 13: 42 New
    +1
    Power-30 kW, destruction time 15 sec. But what if the UAV will have a reflective surface, have a laser irradiation sensor and simply begin to rotate along the axis?
    While it turns out the hat! If the laser does not disable the guidance devices in 1-2 seconds, then it is useless to heat it.
    1. Passing
      Passing 20 September 2020 16: 10 New
      0
      How long can you repeat the common myth about anti-laser mirror coatings? Is it okay that there are no absolute mirrors?
      1) Polished metal will absorb about 30% of laser radiation. and this is 10 kW for the laser in question. And if the laser is a megawatt? The mirror surface will instantly boil, lose specularity, and then the process of conventional laser cutting of metals will proceed.
      2) A regular mirror has 5%, but how are you going to provide such a perfect surface? This is very difficult to achieve by grinding a sheet of metal. Even if you polish this way with chemical etching, this surface will be scratched during operation. In reality, only the thinnest metal coating on an ideal surface such as glass, and on the inside. But this micron metal film will evaporate even faster, in nanoseconds, from heating, it has zero heat capacity, and the glass substrate removes heat very poorly, 5% of the absorbed energy is enough for the eyes.
      3) But all these types of mirror surfaces are not realistic for UAVs, the maximum that is possible in practice is a plastic film with a "mirror" coating. It is not even necessary to evaporate the metallized layer, it is enough to heat it to the melting / boiling / burning temperature of the plastic, and the entire effect of specularity will go away even faster.
      1. APASUS
        APASUS 20 September 2020 16: 25 New
        +1
        Quote: Passing by
        1) Polished metal will absorb about 30% of laser radiation. and this is 10 kW for the laser in question. And if the laser is a megawatt? The mirror surface will instantly boil, lose specularity, and then the process of conventional laser cutting of metals will proceed.

        A UAV made of plastic and coated cardboard will cost $ 500-600, but how much will a megawatt laser cost?
        I remember that destroyers of the "Zamvolt" type were equipped with a 155-mm artillery mount AGS, where a shell is more expensive than a Tomahawk. And where is this "Zamvolt" now ..........
  6. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 20 September 2020 13: 49 New
    0
    For obvious reasons, these are unthinkable values, given the speed and maneuverability of modern fighters.
    belay And who sang that the maneuverability of aircraft is a thing of the past? It turns out - tomorrow. The flying penguin, Ph-35, was out of luck. He should be born in the Korean War ... repeat
  7. Oleg Olkha
    Oleg Olkha 20 September 2020 15: 00 New
    +4
    It is a waste of time to discuss the "problems" of the ancient, as much as 30 kW, ship-based laser, the progress in this matter is rapid. Here are these Israeli, presumably shipborne lasers, on small SAAR 4.5, 50 kW. minimum (principle of combining beams) for several years ...
    Laser
  8. Alexey from Perm
    Alexey from Perm 21 September 2020 00: 26 New
    0
    Any weapon tends to improve, it is quite possible after a certain number of years, it will already be a serious weapon.
  9. Ax Matt
    Ax Matt 21 September 2020 00: 33 New
    +1
    ... TESTED! The "test subject" can be an animate object. Where is your editor, green trees ?! negative