Military Review

Made in USSR: cosmonaut laser pistol

Made in USSR: cosmonaut laser pistol

Laser Gun Prototype

During the Cold War, political tensions were high and sometimes reached marasmic limits. And the idea of ​​“Soviet cosmonaut” against “American cosmonaut” seemed quite real. Therefore, it was necessary to arm our compatriots not only in case of landing in remote corners of our planet (for this, our cosmonaut had - SONAZ (small weapon wearable emergency stock) TP-82, and the American astronaut has the knife "Astro 17") but also in case of direct confrontation.

Let's see what kind of weapon the Soviet cosmonaut would have to wield according to the plan of the scientists of that time ...

The first weapon that went into space was the Makarov pistol, which had entered the cosmonaut’s emergency supply since Yuri Gagarin’s flight. Since 1982, it has been replaced by a specially designed for survival and self-defense in an emergency landing SONAZ - “small arms of a portable emergency reserve”, also known under the marking TP-82, astronaut's three-barreled pistol.

The Americans approached the problem more easily and decided to equip their astronauts with classic survival knives, called Astro 17, made in the style of the legendary Bowie knife.

The first attempts to create a weapon, of which the laser beam was a striking factor, were made back in the 1970s, both in the USA and in the USSR. However, this task was difficult to implement with regard to the NTP of that time. During development in the USSR, it was originally decided that this weapon would not be lethal. Its main purpose was self-defense and disabling electronic and optical systems of the enemy.

In 1984, in the framework of the Almaz program, the Salyut, from the satellite inspectors and interceptors of the potential adversary in the Military Academy of the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), was designed -this fantastic weapon is a fiber laser gun.

The research team was headed by the Head of the Department, Honored Scientist and Technician of the RSFSR, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Major General Viktor Samsonovich Sulakvelidze. Boris Nikolaevich Duvanov, a doctor of technical sciences, professor, was engaged in theoretical and experimental research on the damaging effect of a laser pistol. Researcher A.V. worked on the drawings. Simonov, the researcher L.I. Avakyants and associate V.V. Gore

Designers set as their goal the development of compact weapons for disabling enemy optical systems.

Prototypes of laser weapons. From left to right: Single-shot laser gun, Laser revolver, Laser gun.

At the first stage of development, the authors of the future invention found that for this purpose a relatively small radiation energy is enough - within 1 - J. 10 (allowing the enemy to be blinded by the way).

As a source of optical pumping, pyrotechnic flash lamps were used, which have sufficient energy and at the same time are very compact.

The scheme of work was simple and reliable: the pyrotechnic flash lamp follows the construction of a conventional cartridge of the caliber 10 mm, placed by the gate from the store into the chamber, which is a lighting camera. Through an electric piezo pulse in the cartridge ignites a mixture of zirconium foil and metal salts. As a result, there is a flash with a temperature of almost 5000 ° C, this energy is absorbed by the optical elements of the gun behind the lighting chamber and converted into a pulse. Weapon 8-mi charger is not automatic - reloading is done manually. The striking ability of the released beam is up to 20 meters.

A laser revolver was also developed, which, unlike a pistol, has the ability to fire with a self-coder, but the 6 was charged.

The main elements of the laser gun, like any laser, are the active medium, pump source and optical resonator.

As a medium, designers first chose a crystal of yttrium-aluminum garnet, generating a beam in the infrared range at a relatively low pump power. The mirrors sprayed on its ends served as a resonator. For optical pumping, a compact gas-discharge flash lamp was used. Since even the most compact power source weighed 3 - 5 kg, it had to be placed separately from the gun.

A single-shot prototype of a laser weapon built into the body of a lighter gun.

At the second stage, it was decided to replace the active medium with fiber-optic elements - in them, as in a garnet crystal, the radiation was initiated by neodymium ions. Due to the fact that the diameter of such a “thread” was approximately 30 μm, and the surface of the harness assembled from its segments (from 300 to 1000) was large, the lasing threshold (the lowest pump energy) decreased, and the resonators became unnecessary.

The case remained for a compact source of optical pumping. As it was decided to use disposable pyrotechnic flash lamps.
Each ten-millimeter cylinder housed a pyrotechnic mixture - zirconium foil, oxygen and metal salts and a combustible paste of tungsten-rhenium filament to ignite it.

Burned by an electric spark from an external source, such a lamp burns out in 5-10 milliseconds at a temperature of the order of 5000 degrees in Kelvin. Thanks to the use of zirconium foil, the specific light energy of the pyrotechnic lamp is three times higher than that of ordinary samples that use magnesium. Added to the mixture of metal salts "customize" the radiation of the lamp to the absorption spectrum of the active element. Pyrotechnic mixture is non-toxic and not prone to spontaneous detonation.

Eight flash lamps are located in the store, similar to a fire pistol ammunition. After each “shot”, the spent lamp is ejected, like a cartridge case, and the next ammunition is fed into the lighting chamber. The source of energy for electric ignition is the “Krona” type battery fixed in a special guide under the barrel.

The fiber-optic active element absorbs radiation from a burning lamp, which causes a laser pulse in it, directed through the barrel of the gun to the target.
The beam fired from the barrel of the weapon retains its burning and blinding effect at a distance of up to 20 meters.

On the basis of a laser pistol with a pyrotechnic flashlight, a laser revolver with a drum magazine with a capacity of 6 cartridges and a single-shot ladies' laser pistol was designed.

The developers claimed the possibility of modifying a pistol from a military weapon into a medical instrument (apparently, this required the replacement of an optical pumping source).

All experimental work was done manually. At the end of research at one of the enterprises, serial production of lamps was already under way, but the conversion of the defense industry put an end to the development of the project. The production line was curtailed, however, the work on inertia still continued, but until the end of the produced lamps.

At present, a laser pistol with a pyrotechnic flashlight is recognized as a monument of science and technology of the 1 category and is on display at the Museum of the Peter the Great Strategic Missile Forces Military Academy.

About the gun after the second minute:

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  1. Vladimirets
    Vladimirets 15 January 2014 09: 02
    good Thank you very much, the first time I learned about such weapons. hi
    1. ShturmKGB
      ShturmKGB 15 January 2014 11: 03
      We have always been the first in advanced developments and will be! Silently, without Hollywood propaganda and pathos!
  2. makarov
    makarov 15 January 2014 09: 05
    Infa about this topic was partially published in TM around the end of the 70s. I was a little engaged in the topic itself, only with a different approach, the conversion of energy from one state to another form ... I had to stop ... they pulled it away.
    1. DAGESTAN333
      DAGESTAN333 15 January 2014 09: 48
      More details can ..?
  3. Energet1k_
    Energet1k_ 15 January 2014 09: 11
    The striking ability of the released beam is up to 20 meters.

    This, as I understand it, is in such a range in the air, and in space there should be much more. If so, then the device is not very bad))
    1. the47th
      the47th 15 January 2014 14: 15
      Photons are probably braking about the air.
      Most likely the light beam simply scatters and ceases to be effective.
  4. Denis
    Denis 15 January 2014 09: 15
    During development in the USSR, it was initially decided that this weapon would be non-lethal
    Lethal-non-lethal ... maybe just far (about 250 km), but when their shuttle passed on Baikonur from a similar "pistol" they fired. The astronauts immediately noted that they got sick
    For nefig pry
    1. Letun
      Letun 15 January 2014 11: 42
      Tales of the peoples of the north? laughing Let me ask if you shot a pistol, or were aboard the shuttle?
      1. Denis
        Denis 15 January 2014 13: 54
        Quote: Letun
        Did you fire a pistol, or were aboard the shuttle?
        If I shot or was, I would keep quiet. That was in several sources, the extreme-series "Arms" about missile defense systems. It's not a talk show, you can believe
    2. Atlas
      Atlas 15 January 2014 13: 45
      As far as I remember, they didn’t shoot from a laser ...
      1. Denis
        Denis 15 January 2014 13: 56
        Quote: Atlas
        I remember not from the laser ...
        The laser, by the way, but what was the laser, the pulse ...
        Who knows, will not say yet
        1. dustycat
          dustycat 15 January 2014 17: 09
          From the Balkhash test site.
          Maser at 0,01 rated power.
          For the fact that the Shuttle made a bend of up to 80 km over Moscow.
          There was so much noise in foreign press in those days that even our pretty much got into it.
          The shuttle could not land for a week - most of the electronics barked, exchanged blocks for spare ones.
          There was a small whistle in the press that even after landing, they could not immediately open the hatch - it was kind of welded.
          But ours at that time stubbornly and unequivocally denied themselves - they say there was a flash in the sun. (It really was, but class M1 and not in the wrong direction - not a single satellite in orbit wavered).
          In the mid-1990s, in "how it was" one retired admitted - Well, yes ... It seems like we ... Our work .. No, not at full capacity, so a little bit completely. At a hundredth of the power can. Not more. Full it would be left there forever ... We gave full power for another orbital target. Officially, they worked on the anti-countermeasure urgoza.

          There was still material, maybe where someone on the Internet will meet.
          1. Letun
            Letun 15 January 2014 18: 27
            Quote: dustycat
            For the fact that the Shuttle made a bend of up to 80 km over Moscow.

            Can I clarify what this phrase means? And how can one make a turn in space (airless space).
            PS And yes, in the 90s a lot of things were said lol Glasnost has come, yoksel laughing
            1. HAUSER
              HAUSER 15 January 2014 20: 27
              I heard about that too. Only in my opinion he did not bend, but dived almost to the stratosphere.
              1. Letun
                Letun 16 January 2014 08: 52
                Quote: HAUSER
                I heard about that too. Only in my opinion he did not bend, but dived almost to the stratosphere.

                Have you seen the shuttle take off on TV? Which booster is pulling it up? More than the shuttle itself. And then you say that he went down from Moscow from 300 to 80 km and then he jumped back?
                In general, to summarize the story. Once, in one distant galaxy, the treacherous shuttle of the empire decided to go down from its orbit and fly, either over the capital of the Motherland, or over the spaceport. But the troops of the space defense of the Motherland did not doze off! They fired at an insidious enemy flying at a speed of 8 km / s, from a distance of 3000 km (from Lake Balkhash) with a maser (xs what it is), only 0,01 power and hit! And the enemy repaired in orbit for a week and licked his wounds. And after landing, even the hatch could not open! lol Straight "Star Wars Episode 7"
                Guys, aren't you funny yourself?
                And yes, more minuses =)
                1. carbofo
                  carbofo 16 January 2014 23: 43
                  Your arguments are ridiculous, for you are not well-versed.
                  For your information, shuttles use their own engine to start, but side boosters take a significant part of the load.
                  What you called the Rocket Carrier is actually just a consumable fuel tank, and since there is a lot of fuel, its dimensions are large.
                  Our Buran does not start itself but uses the Energia rocket, being on it as a passenger.
                  Purely technically, the Shuttles have the ability to change the orbit at their own discretion, which limits only the amount of fuel on board.
                  It’s not difficult to calculate the moment of a shot at a device that is flying relatively slowly relative to the ground.
                  Even a small modern laser (pointer) creates a significant number of problems for aviation, and cases of laser exposure to pilots have become more frequent.
                  In connection with the ability of the population to buy sufficiently powerful products that can technically set fire to paper, an epidemic - why burn!?, Is quite common.
                  If the shuttle is irradiated with a military laser, even at low power a considerable amount of optics and a potential orientation system can be disabled, which can potentially destroy the device due to loss of orientation.
                  1. Letun
                    Letun 17 January 2014 09: 25
                    Are my arguments ridiculous? belay Well, have fun, thanks = -)
                    Regarding the technical capabilities that you have described here, it’s of course understandable, the patriots of the fools really want to believe that our gallant military, get a laser pointer from the lake. Balkhash in a shuttle flying over Moscow. This is technically quite uncomplicated. That's only in reality, Matthias Rust, on the usual Cesna, during the complete absence of amateur aviation in the USSR, i.e. When air traffic was 100% controlled, the entire western and central military districts flew at a speed of 200 km / h and sat on Red Square. And this fact is really known to everyone and does not require evidence, but you continue to believe in urban legends, they are not ridiculous lol

                    And yet, according to international agreements, outer space is common, and to attack a controlled spacecraft in space is the same as attacking an American aircraft carrier in neutral waters. Can you imagine the consequences?
                    1. carbofo
                      carbofo 17 January 2014 17: 00
                      Asya, you yourself believe in what you wrote, oh well, yes, you probably still believe, well, with you.
                      For a military laser with an appropriate guidance system, there is no problem getting into the shuttle, all the more its coordinates are known quite accurately.
                      Rust was simply not knocked down by anyone - this is a fact; heads flew into air defense - a fact.
                      And the fact that they could bring down at any moment I have no doubt. It could even be shot from a helicopter from a machine gun if desired.
                      There is no need to compare the incomparable, no one asked the shuttle to go down close to the surface just above our territory, well, we shone a flashlight on them, really.
                      They, as always, stumbled in their indefatigable curiosity, at attentive attitude to objects flying over here and here over our territory.
                      Moreover, the blinding of surveillance cameras is not an act of aggression, and as a rule, the astronavigation and orientation system is never looked at the earth, so only intelligence reconnaissance has suffered damage, which does not lead to scandal :).
                      Well, about the aircraft carrier in neutral waters, they even steamed the belly and took photos from a mile under the periscope and flew over the deck when they were not a dream.
                      What we never did was do not deliberately violate the borders of the state, did not commit deliberate acts of a provocative nature.
                      Sometimes in such cases, pilots and sailors decided to teach an overly impudent American, warning in advance of his aggressive actions and that measures would be taken.
                      For this we received the nickname "mad Ivan" because only our submarines can suddenly make several sharp turns to check the tracking, which has always caused an ambiguous reaction from the Americans.
                      They could simply push the American ships out of their territorial waters, even despite the significantly smaller dimensions of our border vessels.
                      There are many examples, and among them almost all examples of our defensive reaction to the actions of Americans.
                      It's like in a rodeo on bulls, many want to but not everyone is destined to survive, the one they are trying to saddle is too strong.
                      I'm a little distracted by the fact that you wrote it has nothing to do with the topic, for the most part.
                      Rust, and here he is, well, they didn’t bring down an odiot business then.
                      Or do you believe that he just decided and flew :) maybe, but painfully operational hype has risen, it doesn’t happen spontaneously, and the flight route was obviously not using civilian maps, any air defense will say that, because it is impossible to fly around air defense zones without knowledge of their location and this is not on any civil map.
                      As for laser guidance, there is such a thing as an actuator — it is a drive with a gearbox, and for quite some time now telescopes with two-plane stabilization have been produced, which, when specifying the appropriate program, can freely keep your shuttle within the focus of the telescope, why can’t you replace the telescope with a laser , the more military development is orders of magnitude more accurate and more powerful.
                      What is called, learn materiel then in the world there will be less incomprehensible and fantastic.
                      1. Letun
                        Letun 17 January 2014 22: 46
                        Quote: carbofo
                        What is called, learn materiel then in the world there will be less incomprehensible and fantastic.

                        I wish you the same, too many clever words and completely out of place and out of business. The shuttle cannot go down to 80 km and go back into space.
                        Although if you, as a fan of George Lucas films, think that 8 km / s is
                        Quote: carbofo
                        relatively slowly flies relative to the ground

                        you probably really think that it can.
                        The example with Rust I led to the fact that, judging by the story of your fairy tale, it was about the same time, and Rust flew not 8 km / s, and not several minutes, but several hours, and then there was not enough time and mind to react. The shuttle flies over our country in about 15 minutes, and here, in your words, just an instant reaction, realized right in a second laughing (I generally am silent about the fantastic laser-maser) And what did they want to make out that they could not detect spy satellites?
                        The ship example is incorrect, the Americans flooded into our territorial waters when ours began to push them back, and then, mind you, they did not open fire.
                        I love my country, I respect our Army, but I really look at things. And the uryakalki patriots really annoy: "Americans are stupid, Europe is fools, we have all the best if we hit everyone's face" and so on. Look, disappointment can be very cruel.
                      2. carbofo
                        carbofo 18 January 2014 00: 21
                        There is such a thing as a trajectory, the trajectory of braking and entering the dense layers of the atmosphere can also be above our territory. If the shuttle lands on our side, then it could well enter the dense layers of the atmosphere and above our territory.
                        The minimum orbit of the shuttle is 180 km, so if we assume that the unit was omitted in the retelling, then everything is fine.
                        Folk stories are therefore folk because even if they are true, the essence of what happened can be significantly distorted, since the majority of the population does not have extensive technical knowledge.
                        no one knocked down a rust and didn’t give such an order, there was an opportunity to knock down more than once, there was no problem knocking down a cardboard, unless for speed interceptors it was an uncomfortable target.
                        To each his own, to whom sooner to be disappointed later, everyone chooses for himself.
                        I’m basically not watching any chernukha about Putin, I don’t like bulk and company, liberals and others like them, but at the same time I don’t support United Russia.
                        There is one forum there are many articles about the real state of the Armed Forces, Air Force, Navy, everything is very sad.
                        If you live in shit, there are 2 ways, like looking at the sun and dreaming, or seeing diamonds in the surrounding shit.
                        Of course I'm exaggerating, but the principle is something like this.
                        At the same time, do not forget that for many others our shit :) looks like real diamonds, so everything is not as bad as you think.
                      3. Apollo
                        Apollo 18 January 2014 00: 29
                        Quote: carbofo
                        I’m basically not watching any chernukha about Putin, I don’t like bulk and company, liberals and others like them, but at the same time I don’t support United Russia.

                        This will probably be interesting. "Communists" plus liberals. So.
                      4. carbofo
                        carbofo 20 January 2014 22: 38
                        Not interesting, although I didn’t even look at it, 64 kb isn’t up to it now :).
                        But you are sincerely sorry, take out your brain with stupid things, it sooner or later corrupts.
              2. Semenych0963
                Semenych0963 19 January 2014 17: 54
                So, even the radar-optical complex “Krona”, which was supposed to be included in the “Contact” system, currently performs its function as part of more advanced facilities of similar purpose. Recently, the Krona complex was upgraded, receiving a new high-power laser-optical locator. Back in 1984, the laser locator of the previous generation 5H26 / LE-1 measured the parameters of the American Challenger shuttle with the minimum radiation power. As a result of this experiment on the shuttle, the connection was suddenly disconnected, the equipment malfunctioned, and the astronauts felt unwell. In the new configuration, the “Krona” complex should make measurements and give the parameters of targets in space to the new means of aerospace defense.
  • avt
    avt 15 January 2014 09: 17
    Well, the motto in life was - "We were born to make a fairy tale come true", and then exchanged for a sandwich from Hamburg, not even in the original - in the American version.
  • Vasia kruger
    Vasia kruger 15 January 2014 10: 14
    I read about lasers as a child, almost in "Young Technique". Thank you for the article!!!
  • Hort
    Hort 15 January 2014 10: 28
    Well, and so the astronauts would be our first blasters)
  • abrakadabre
    abrakadabre 15 January 2014 11: 21
    You can also assemble a laser "machine gun" !!!
  • svp67
    svp67 15 January 2014 11: 26
    Is that like a "big laser pointer"?
  • Nagaibak
    Nagaibak 15 January 2014 11: 45
    How did the bourgeoisie talk about us there? The USSR is Upper Volta with missiles?
  • waisson
    waisson 15 January 2014 11: 47
    informatively many thanks for the article hi
  • Starfish
    Starfish 15 January 2014 12: 11
    the laser pistol, almost one in one, looks like a veterinary injector for mass vaccinations.
  • AVV
    AVV 15 January 2014 13: 22
    We have always been the first in advanced developments and will be! Silently, without Hollywood propaganda and pathos!

    In Soviet times, such a scientific backlog was created that Russia still uses it !!! And much that has not yet been realized !!!
  • xomaNN
    xomaNN 15 January 2014 13: 59
    The rightmost sample in the picture looks very worthy, even for science fiction films. And the fact that it was a working copy is good to our developers! And then we are accustomed to believe that they are always in the tail behind foreign science weaving.
  • the47th
    the47th 15 January 2014 14: 18
    An interesting idea, sorry not spread. It would be possible to actually place a laser in the barrel, and instead of flares, as disposable cartridges, use disposable capacitors.
  • kav669
    kav669 15 January 2014 14: 29
    The weapon and the idea are impressive. I could not even imagine that there are such pistols
  • godun
    godun 15 January 2014 17: 20
    Sometimes there is a feeling that there were no impossible tasks for Soviet scientists, and how bitter it is to realize that SKOLKOVO is cutting budget funds, and Mr. Chubais and his comrades can invent a primitive e-book for schools at the price of a Ferrari.
  • papik09
    papik09 15 January 2014 17: 41
    "Sometimes there is a feeling that there were no impossible tasks for Soviet scientists."
    Yes, they were not there, because the PARTY SAID NECESSARY! That would be so now. I remember in the mid-80s, in winter. Snow is not childish. All night long. And in the morning - the main roads are all PURE FROM THE SNOW! If someone (company )’s equipment didn’t go out to clear the snow, the head put the party card on table 1 to the secretary of either the district committee or the city party committee. Then there was order! Respectfully to all forum users hi
  • With
    With 15 January 2014 18: 15
    I heard as a version that with the help of a modern laser rifle the English SAS eliminated Princess Diana
  • uzer 13
    uzer 13 15 January 2014 18: 39
    The laser has a classic design with two mirrors, which at that time was very popular. In industry, similar installations were used to process metal surfaces for the purpose of hardening. The designers successfully completed the task of creating a small-sized device. A real prototype of a compact laser weapon was created and this kind of experience can be useful in Further, it was possible to solve the problem of the energy source - and this has always been a weak link in laser devices. The idea of ​​engineer Garin's hyperboloid with a chemical energy source does not seem so fantastic.
  • LAO
    LAO 15 January 2014 20: 09
    This design was not worth doing. Even preliminary calculations show that the result will be more than modest. Rather, scientific curiosity than a weapon.
    For war, completely different systems are used ...
    Solid-state lasers have low efficiency and the need for cooling.
    Chem. gas or gas-dynamic lasers for war ...
    You can write a lot about JAG, but this is a completely different story.
    1. carbofo
      carbofo 17 January 2014 03: 42
      The gun was created for a specific purpose with a specific task.
      It has been fulfilled.
      All arguments about the absurdity and meaninglessness, have no foundation.
      Even despite the lack of evidence of the use of this gun, the development and implementation of the prototype represents a serious engineering and scientific task, and the fact that it was executed in an existing device is already a breakthrough of science and engineers.
      The current prototype is a proven concept of a device with a solid-state emitter and thermochemical pumping, reusable.

      If you refer to the cinema, then there was a similar structural device in the film "StarTrack" (about Romulan, where the planet "Vulcan" was destroyed), if I am not mistaken, then in "Fazer" the emitter of the device, consisting of a horizontal rotary module, changed (unfolded) during the shooting with oppositely directed emitting modules, it is difficult to say how relevant such a solution is, but I can assume that this gave time to cool the inactive emitter and / or recharge it.
      Although judging by the comments, these are multi-mode emitters, although it probably all depends on the series or season. Fans will correct me.
  • Tron
    Tron 16 January 2014 04: 29
    Quote: LAO
    This design was not worth doing

    That is why a 23 mm automatic cannon was developed for the Almaz space station (designer Nudelman). And then a space-to-space rocket system appeared.
  • Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 16 January 2014 08: 44
    Interestingly, it's terrible! Because the list of laser information I have used for all the years, there is no pistol information. That's just what about the shuttle: whatever it is, it's still not an aerospace plane! So, really, I doubt about, dives, shuttle type, cosmos-stratosphere-cosmos, .Infu, as they shot a laser at the shuttle, I met it more than once, but I don’t remember why I gave the Americans a slap. It’s possible that Americans small, fell over Baikonur, but not to the stratosphere!