It uses a laser with a very short pulse that can fire bullets in a quarter of a second.
The U.S. military has asked for help developing the weapon on the Pentagon’s Small Business Investment Research website, where the Pentagon posts contracts for small businesses to bid. They called this high-energy laser an ultra-short-pulse tactical laser, and although it was many years away from its implementation, the idea was rooted in existing scientific systems.
The Pentagon has been developing high energy laser weapons for many years now. The Navy has also deployed laser weapons on the USS Ponce transport ship. Most existing laser weapons shoot a continuous wave of energy directed at the target in an attempt to heat it, causing it to catch fire and disrupt electronic equipment. During testing, the USS Ponce’s laser shot down the simple drone.
But what the military wants to build this new is something different. Instead of using continuous waves to create a laser beam, the new weapon would generate a very short pulse. Instead of a continuous beam, the weapon will take on a powerful blast of energy. As a result, it would give the weapon an edge in the field.
“While most lasers simply melt targets, ultra-short pulse laser systems can neutralize threats through three distinct mechanisms: cut target material., Dazzle sensors through creation of controllable supercontinuous spectra in the air and induce local electronic interference that can overload internal electronics with a threat, ”according to reports.
Universities and researchers have developed ultra-short pulse lasers that can be fired in a femtosecond – or a quarter of a second – but the machines never leave the lab.
“Over the past two decades, femtosecond lasers have grown from specialized labs to being suitable for placement on special optical panels across the country,” the Pentagon said. “These advances in ultra-short pulse lasers, while promising, still have many hurdles to overcome in terms of size, weight and power, as well as the operating environment and mass production.
The Pentagon has been developing lasers for a variety of uses for over a decade. China is also developing laser weapons, including a rifle it claims has a range of 0.8 km. However, the US military is less interested in equipping the infantry with laser weapons than it is in shooting down cruise missiles and drones with laser defense systems.