Feeds

Northrop scoops DARPA laser RIFLe cash

Elasmobranch head mount attachment imminent

New hybrid storage solutions

US weaponry goliath Northrop Grumman has landed a contract to develop new, lightweight, efficient rayguns for the American armed forces.

The technology push is called "Revolution In Fibre Lasers" (RIFL) and is intended to scale up the amount of power delivered by fibre laser systems. Fibre lasers might offer more efficient laser weapons in future, which wasted less of their input energy.

"We'll build on internal successes demonstrating the ability to scale and operate single frequency fibers at high powers," said Dan Wildt, Northrop raygun veep.

"RIFL will enable us to scale this important technology to weapons-class powers."

Under the Phase I award, Northrop get $4.5m and might pick up the same again on Phase II if they do well. The company has claimed significant breakthroughs in raygun tech recently, in particular with solid-state lasers. Northrop believes it will be able to show off the first 100 kilowatt, weapons strength solid state laser by the end of the year.

Solid-state electrical lasers are more practical than the only present-day energy weapons, chemical lasers which run on exotic, toxic fuels, and create very hazardous exhaust products. But fibre lasers could be more efficient still.

It almost goes without saying that RIFL is a product of DARPA, the Pentagon's intellectual polytunnel for growing colossal mutant technology marrows out of season.

DARPA has previously said that it would like RIFL to produce weapons which weigh as little as 5kg per kilowatt of energy ray output. Given that a really heavy personal weapon - say, a .50 rifle - can run to 15kg, that could lead to portable rayguns able to put out three kilowatts or more. Of course, that's without considering the power supply. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.