Excalibur - the latest generation of compact laser weapons
To install laser weapons piloted and unmanned aerial vehicles have justified their costs, it is necessary to design a system of laser weapons, which will be small enough to lift into the air. However, it should not be inferior in power to its more dimensional counterparts, which are in service, for example, in warships. At the moment, one of the most influential departments of the Pentagon, engaged in promising research and development, DARPA, oversees the Excalibur project. The essence of this project is to create a compact system of high-power laser weapons, specialized for aircraft carriers.
Until now, the most optimal method for creating lasers was the use of large vessels filled with active chemicals.
According to this principle, the Boeing YAL-1 laser system works. It is so bulky that it is installed on a Boeing 747, which is essentially a passenger airliner and has a very impressive size. Naturally, its use for military purposes is absolutely impractical.
The Excalibur model being developed is much smaller and lighter than any existing chemical laser systems, so it will be perfectly suited for installation on fighters and unmanned aerial vehicles. Its peculiarity is that Excalibur is not one, but many autonomous lasers, which significantly reduces the size of emitters. Installed in different places of the aircraft's hull, these emitters will be self-directed at the target.
At the end of the year, DARPA promises to demonstrate a functioning prototype Excalibur, which will have a power of three kilowatts. It is expected that the final version of the model will have a power in 100 kilowatts. This will make it possible to use it to hit point targets on the ground and in the air.
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