Feeds

Rave reviews at robotic robot-roaster raygun rollout

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

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'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.