Watch out UAV builders or Boeing just might shoot you down with a giant freakin' laser beam! Directed energy weapons are still in their infancy, really, but it's only a matter of time. Today Boeing reported that they've successfully destroyed three, flying, UAVs using such a weapon. Boeing seems to be selling the idea of defending against rogue UAVs, but, to my knowledge, there haven’t been any such threats to date. Do they know something we don't know?

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  • Won't work in bad weather, Ah! Global Warming, maybe they can avoid an asteroid impact by juicing up that thing.
  • T3
    Me be terrorist clever so fly in rain always!
    Now have fun with those fancy lasers.
  • Moderator
    Several years ago the Military or History channel showed a feature that documented the history of the laser as a weapon. They showed it way back in the late 1938s as a movie/tv prop all the way up to the 1980's where they showed footage of "air based" lasers shooting down other "air assets". It was an interesting program to watch and see how Regans "Star Wars" was the focus of many of the developers. Over the years the laser kept getting smaller and more powerfull.

    I found it funny how the story ended in the 1980's... you know because there's been no further research in to the subject... RIGHT!
  • Howard,
    Very true, but they still would have to identify and track the target to range it. 1kW laser range-finder :) I'd like to find one of those at Home Depot!
  • They could be using time-of-flight laser ranging. That's probably cheaper than a phased-array radar.
  • You are right William! The Hummer in the press release has no Radar antenna that I can see. The optics on the right hand side of the vehicle seem interesting.
  • Well, the pictured Hummer isn't the exact one used. That's an image from about 1 year ago, when Boeing was showing how they could destroy IEDs - no point-and-track for those :) But, even on the image here of the more recent system, there's no obvious radar equip.
  • Looking at the trials featured above, it looks like they rely upon the UAVs being where they last left them ;-) There's not obvious Radar equipment on the big nasty machine pictured. Image tracking seems likely.
  • Good points.
    So, I'm also wondering what "super special" method Boeing is using to track these UAVs. They said it was "advanced UAV tracking algorithms". I'm wondering if that is just a fancy way of saying image recognition and tracking, of if they're doing a lot more there - perhaps looking at heat signatures, flying patterns, etc.
  • Not if we jam em; hehehe I was looking at how nice and polished those optics are.
    The real deal is an adaptable network with a battery of 100kW lasers. How would
    you like 25 of these things focused at you? You could potentially take most things down.
    Real quick. Firestrike
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