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When will lasers become the norm?


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8 replies to this topic

#1
Guyverman1990

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Greetings, Guyverman here once again. Today, I will like to discuss particle-energy-based weapons (i.e lasers). For generations, they have been a staple of science-fiction, capturing our imagination in all forms of media, ranging from film, TV, literature, comic books and the list goes on. Realistically, how far off do you think such devices are from being commonplace, particularly in warfare?

 

While such technology exists, it is still very much in its infancy and requires massive loads of energy with very little available materials that can harness the amount needed. One such material that could increase the odds of it happening is graphene, with both its unrivaled conductivity and tensile strength. In order to generate an unlimited supply of energy used for projectiles, I would say that a portable fusion reactor would be needed. Either that or solar-power could be an efficient source.

 

The 1940's saw the advent of nuclear weapons following decades of trial and error, experimenting with the atom. Based on that, I would give such technology until at least the 2040's. Even when such weapons are available, I imagine that they'll be rarely used, like gunpowder in its early days.

 

In the first few centuries of gunpowder-based weaponry, it was refined only to large canons, gradually making its way into more portable forms (i.e muskets and rifles). Even for the longest time, portable firearms could only be used once in battle before needing a lengthy refill. By the 18th and 19th centuries, handheld pistols, of which could fire multiple rounds became ubiquitous. 

It is most likely that particle energy weapons will go down the same evolutionary path over a similar timeframe. Anyways, what are your thoughts in the matter? Does my prediction sound feasible?



#2
funkervogt

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It's discussed in great depth here: https://www.militant...the-terminator/

 

Large laser weapons will become practical, but man-portable ones probably never will, and even if they do, they won't be able to replace firearms. 

 

Plasma weapons will never be practical. 



#3
PhoenixRu

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^ ^ ^ Right, I have almost nothing to add. Laser weapon is technically possible, but old good firearms is still doing the same job with much lesser cost.



#4
Guyverman1990

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Why do you think that portable laser weapons are impossible and impractical? Maybe not this century, but maybe hundreds of years from now.



#5
Guyverman1990

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It's discussed in great depth here: https://www.militant...the-terminator/

 

Large laser weapons will become practical, but man-portable ones probably never will, and even if they do, they won't be able to replace firearms. 

 

Plasma weapons will never be practical. 

Cavemen would question both the probability and practicality when speculating over modern-day fire arms.



#6
Kynareth

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In the first few centuries of gunpowder-based weaponry, it was refined only to large canons, gradually making its way into more portable forms (i.e muskets and rifles). Even for the longest time, portable firearms could only be used once in battle before needing a lengthy refill. By the 18th and 19th centuries, handheld pistols, of which could fire multiple rounds became ubiquitous.

Handheld gun appeared a long time ago in Europe. In the XV century they were very slow to load, very dangerous (to the wielder) and very inaccurate, couldn't penetrate plate armor outside of close range. They were however very effective in a situation like in the drawing.

4aee97e679028ce1907b345c90ab6295.jpg

Handheld guns evolved slowly until mid XIX century when they started evolving much quicker until mid XX century (AK-47) after which they once again evolve more slowly. That's clearly an S-curve of progress we have there.

 

Thing is, modern weapons are already quite deadly, I think that the future lies in swarm of small drones. Laser weapons on ships and airplanes. Railguns on ships and in the future in tanks and mobile artillery too. Don't know about plasma weapons. The future is probably more about cyberspace.



#7
Kynareth

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The most important difference between early XVII century artillery and early XIX century artillery was reliability. The latter was much safer to the crew, because of higher quality. The earlier you go, the less reliable and more dangerous to the crew artillery was. Late medieval handgun could burst in your face, later that chance was gradually lowered.

 

Early XVI century armor was so good that it was hard to penetrate it, that's why close combat was still so common (and gun accuracy was horrible). In the late XVI century soldiers took off most of their armor because of more powerful guns which could penetrate most of their armor. In the 2nd half of XVI century, matchlock arquebus became standardized caliver and in XVII century people moved to flintlock muskets, used to mid XIX century.

 

In XXI century, electromagnetic railguns will deliver much longer range, much higher power per shot and even the ability to shoot into the upper atmosphere or the orbit. But, we won't see hand railguns anytime soon.

 

Lasers are useful for exploding (heating) missiles and rockets.



#8
shin_getter

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First, lasers needs to stop being banned (in that a war crime does not happen if it hits a human with eyes open)

 

Second, lasers needs to not induce hyper-hysteria amongst the entire universe when used.

 

"useful" handheld laser systems already exists:

https://www.popsci.c...-energy-weapon/

 

The eye and other optical sensors are orders of magnitudes more vulnerable to lasers than flesh or armor.  A laser weapon can quickly and stealthily blind optical sensors and eyes at long distances and render the target ineffective.  With the level of power needed, a big battery or small generator can supply a huge number of "shots", far more than bullets.  The limit on its application is that actually using it result in war crimes.

 

The tech for the above effects really isn't much, see:100W handheld laser...by a youtuber



#9
Ethan13

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Laser technologies are more likely to develop in the space industry. This is a slightly different type of lasers, of course. I've seen a project that offers laser advertising from space.
Also, lasers will be used to push the space sail.
Why do we need new weapons?





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