Feeds

Rave reviews at robotic robot-roaster raygun rollout

US Navy in hot, wet droid-on-droid blaster action

High performance access to file storage

There's big news from the world of rayguns this week, as the US Navy has announced successful use of a laser cannon fitted to its well-known "R2-D2" robotic gun turret installation to shoot down other, flying robots in a test.

The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) prototype. Credit: NAVSEA

Shark-portability issues continue to dog the technology's entry into the supervillainry sector.

The hot robot-on-robot raygun action took place at San Nicolas Island off the coast of California on 24 May, according to the US Naval Sea Systems command (NAVSEA). Naval spokesmen added:

This marks the first Detect-Thru-Engage laser shoot-down of a threat representative target in an over-the-water, combat representative scenario.

Five other unmanned air vehicles have previously been burned down by what is known officially as the Laser Weapon System (LaWS).

"The success of this effort validates the military utility of [rayguns] in a maritime environment. Further development and integration of increasingly more powerful lasers into Surface Navy LaWS will increase both the engagement range and target sets that can be successfully engaged and destroyed," said NAVSEA's Captain David Kiel.

The LaWS is essentially a an extra option added to an existing "Phalanx" automatic 20mm cannon installation. Phalanx - occasionally known as the "R2-D2" among US sailors - can detect incoming threats such as guided missiles with its own radar, aim itself and blast the target out of the sky without input from human operators: the only control options normally available are to switch it on and off, or in some cases to adjust the minimum speed something must be going at before it is fired on.

But Phalanx is limited in range and must be reloaded every so often. Also, when used ashore to defend military bases from mortar and rocket attacks (which has taken place in Iraq and Afghanistan) it tends to shower the surrounding neighbourhood with shrapnel and even entire 20mm shells whose self-destruct fuses have failed.

Hence the desire for laser Phalanx. LaWS is just one system being considered. A rival, known as Maritime Laser, is under development by the Office of Naval Research. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.