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BlackFish

real laser weapons

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Old news. They've had these laser testing planes over at the Boeing Field since the mid-90s. This is just the first time they've released test footage to the public. :P

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There was also a somewhat related anti-artillery laser system that instead worked by destroying incoming missiles and artillery shells in flight.

Also, not exactly a proper laser weapon, there was a sort of long-range taser that used an UV laser to create a conductive path to the target, rather than e.g. darts or salty water. The videos for most of these weapon systems are generally hard to find and poor quality (some are not even proper videos, but rather animations or poor 3D reconstructions).

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Maes said:

Also, not exactly a proper laser weapon, there was a sort of long-range taser that used an UV laser to create a conductive path to the target, rather than e.g. darts or salty water. The videos for most of these weapon systems are generally hard to find and poor quality (some are not even proper videos, but rather animations or poor 3D reconstructions).


Hey... that almost seems like that could work, doesn't it? Haha, awesome. Wolfenstein's "tesla cannon" is one step closer to feasibility.

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Picture an AC-130 destroying resources and killing people from fuck away. There is a sense of escalation that inevitably leads to the end of War, as there is no feasible way to wage war without crippling yourself (effectively banning nuclear weaponry kept the ball rolling a bit more).

I wonder if we'll end up banning nukes, bioweapons, chemical agents, Damocles-like satellites, Von Neumann machines, nanoweapons, mass drivers, perfect targeting lasers and what else as to instill a sense of "handicapped" honour the likes of which I've only seen in BattleTech canon (a most unfeasible future of warfare for now).

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Probably not. Even the so-called "banned" weaponry is still actively being researched and improved upon, stockpiled (Israel, USA and Russia among others have ongoing NBC research programs), and even used in small tactical scale without too much publicity.

However, just like a privilege, a luxury or a granted power, even the most terrible weapon becomes unexceptional and ceases being a winning card when everyone has it, which is kinda what happened in the Cold War.

Even then, it has the effect of creating a "circle of mutually respected peers" among those that have it, which explains why Iran or N.Korea are striving so desperately to acquire nukes.

The worst case scenario is if only one side has such a weapon (but for good or bad, such a condition has never lasted for too long).

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Eponasoft said:

"A weapon unused is a useless weapon."

Not really, the prospect of MAD effectively toned down the Cold War a few notches. There's a couple of very interesting chapters about this in Freeman Dyson's 'The Scientist as Rebel'.

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Eponasoft said:

"A weapon unused is a useless weapon."

Heh, now I've got a nagging urge to watch that movie again.

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Eponasoft said:

"A weapon unused is a useless weapon."


Chemical and nuclear weapons were hardly unused by the end of WWII, so everybody was aware of the destruction they could cause (especially atomic and nuclear weapons, which were routinely being tested), so they had a very real power of deterrence.

Having a nuke is like placing a 2m tall, 200 kg bouncer in front of a club's door, or like pulling a .50 cal Desert Eagle in the face of a mugger: both are very visible, intimidating deterrents, and there is little doubt about the damage they can cause, so "being respected" and "having the means to negotiate" acquire a whole other meaning.

On the other hand, untested exotic weapons like offensive satellites, lasers, microwave and/or sonic cannons, "smart" bombs etc. are much more subtle in the way they operate, and they just don't have the "bang" (pardon the pun) to appear as outright dangerous.

To go back to the example with the bouncer and the .50 cal DE, claiming to own a "deadly microwave cannon" is like placing a deadly yet wrinkled old kung-fu monk in front of your door, or pulling one of those Bulgarian "pocket keychain pistols" or a poisoned shuriken on a mugger.

The difference is that is you lose all deterrence, which probably won't stop the mugger from assailing you (thus forcing you to use said "weapon", which on top of it is also unreliable), and the old wrinkled yet deadly kung-fu master will probably have to prove first hand that he is, indeed, deadly, which also may lead to failure.

In the former case, you kept your enemies away (and yourself safe) with no actual fighting. In the latter case, you don't.

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