Feeds

'First production-line energy weapon' now shipping

Northrop delivers 'push-button' electric raygun to USAF

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

American weaponry colossus Northrop Grumman says it has delivered the first production-line solid state energy weapon to the US Air Force. However, the "Vesta II" raygun module doesn't have enough power to meet US military goals for combat applications.

Actually it's some kind of diagnostic instrument, apparently

At the Northrop raygun test range.

Vesta II is described by the company as an "add-on" to the Pentagon's Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) programme, which is intended to produce a weapons grade 100 kilowatt blaster cannon powered by electricity. At present, the only way to produce laser beams with this kind of burn is the use of hazardous chemical fuels.

Northrop are confident that they will roll out a full-strength JHPSSL raygun soon, but in the meantime they have supplied the air force with a small consolation prize in the form of the 15 kW Vesta II unit. Depending on beam focus, this lower power level might suffice against easy targets such as cellphone towers, car engines, unexploded munitions or what have you.

"Vesta II is a unique, compact, high-power laser available for laboratory use as a testing device for lethality, atmospheric propagation, long-range imaging and laser weapon applications," said Northrop raygun boss Dan Wildt.

"We have taken a very large step toward making solid state laser weapons more rugged and easier to field."

The Vesta, described by Northrop as "a laser weapon that utilizes push-buttons for easy operation", has been delivered to the air force research laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate (DED) raygun shop. The US forces reckon that future combat rayguns will be used to shoot down incoming artillery shells or missiles, or perhaps to pick off small ground targets very precisely from the air. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.