Germany’s Got a 4-Barrel Laser Gatling Gun

Post 4943

Germany’s Got a 4-Barrel Laser Gatling Gun

It’s real and it’s spectacular.

Sep 21, 2015 @ 1:38 PM

Drones are becoming a big problem for armed forces worldwide. They’re small, difficult to detect, and operated by armies and terrorist groups such asHezbollah and Hamas.

The drone threat isn’t just limited to the Middle East: in 2014, South Korean authorities found North Korean drones had overflown the Blue House—the official residence of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

This week at the Defence and Security Equipment Industry in London, German defense contractor Rheinmetall Defence Electronics showcased a new sea-based anti-drone laser system. The system, according to Chinese web site qq.com, features not one but four high energy lasers (HEL) mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser gatling gun.

The principles behind the laser gatling aren’t exactly the same as a regular, bullet-spitting gatling gun. The four 20 kilowatt HELs are designed to be fired simultaneously, in a technique known as superimposition. All four fire at a target at once, and Rheinmetall’s technology combines them into a single powerful 80 kilowatt beam.

According to the company, using superimposition there’s not limit to the amount of energy that can be focused on a target—just add more lasers.

Each HEL’s ruby-red lens is protected from the elements by a cover that swings open moments before firing. Such protection is essential to prevent “blooming”, a process by which fog, mist and other airborne water droplets cause lasers to defocus and rapidly lose power.

The gatling laser can reportedly shoot down a drone at 500 meters. Lasers can also detonate ammunition, explode artillery shells, blind the sensors of another ship, and even burn holes in smaller ships., The real range of the system is also likely much longer: in tests Rheinmetall’s 30 measly kilowatt laser exploded an 82-millimeter mortar in midair at 1,000 meters. The result will be ships protected from a variety of threats—at the speed of light.

To give you an idea of what a laser weapon is capable of, here’s a video of Rheinmetall’s land-based system:

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