Sunday, May 28, 2023

Will be able to eliminate heavy tanks in a matter of seconds

The defense industry is eyeing laser technology for its potential to revolutionize the weapons industry. What we are witnessing in recent years is a veritable race between the US, China, Israel and Russia to develop the first weapon capable of using high-energy laser pulses, most of them on hitting aerial targets. is focused. Spain is already producing the weapon that would be used to shoot down drones on naval ships, but another country intends to compete with a novel concept: Australia has created enough liquid to melt the armor of battle tanks. The development of powerful lasers has begun.

This was announced in a brief press release by the Australian Ministry of Defense, which has provided an initial investment of just over 8 million euros to the company QuinetiQ Australia to develop a prototype laser weapon in collaboration with the Department of Science and Defense Technology (DSTG) . They did not reveal their ambitions or technical details, but the 2020 Force Structure Plan published by the ministry at the time clearly and emphatically stated that this new weapon should be able to confront armored vehicles, including main battle tanks. Like the T-90, the super-powerful tank that led the Russian attack on Ukraine.

“We are incredibly proud of the long and deep partnership between QinetiQ Australia and DSTG,” said Simone Fredericks, general manager of engineering services for QinetiQ Australia. By leveraging QinetiQ’s high-powered laser technology and test and evaluation expertise, in collaboration with DSTG’s scientific innovation, we will provide the Australian Defense Force (ADF) with an enhanced sovereign capability.”

Advantages and disadvantages

Weapons of this type, which are progressing parallel to the “world war” to obtain the most powerful laser, have not yet become widespread, given the cost of their development and manufacture, but they can have different effects on them depending on the launch. Shells provide benefits. Its most notable properties are instant hit, speed to reload, accuracy when hitting the target (which minimizes the risk of collateral damage), and scalable power depending on the needs of each target.

Furthermore, although they have a high initial cost, laser weapons are very profitable once installed, as they have negligible cost per shot, especially when compared to missiles that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Drawbacks are, of course, the need for excessive power, loss of power as distance increases, and sensitivity to atmospheric conditions, which can alter the laser’s effectiveness.

Nevertheless, the Australian 2020 Force Structure Plan, in addition to the use of smart mines, is considering the improvement of the M777 howitzer or the acquisition of a long-range rocket artillery battery like Spain, committed to fortifying its ground for lasers Is. forces.

“A future program to develop a directed energy weapon system capable of being integrated into ADF armored and protected vehicles and capable of defeating armored vehicles, including main battle tanks,” could be read in the Combat Support section. Earth. “The eventual deployment of directed energy weapons could also improve the resilience of ground forces by reducing their reliance on ammunition stores and supply lines.”

Difficulties to overcome

To achieve this, they must first overcome several difficulties. And it is that this type of weapon, capable of focusing energy beams starting from 30 kilowatts, has proven its effectiveness against drones, missiles, mortar projectiles and even airplanes. These are all targets that are not armored, which makes them very vulnerable. Aerial targets are also an ‘easy’ target for lasers as in many cases it is sufficient to disable their sensors or disable their engines so that they may fall or malfunction.

However, armored vehicles over 60 tons remain a challenge for this type of weapon. Even the most powerful gun ever developed, a solid-state laser with a power of up to 300 kilowatts attached to land, sea and air units, would not be able to pierce the thick armor shell of most of the advanced tanks.

Lockheed Martin IFPC-Hel System Operating the Lockheed Martin Omicrono

Tanks of this type, such as the T-90 itself, have reactive armor that improves protection against certain types of ammunition such as armor-piercing projectiles. These also include rubber side skirts and certain areas of the tank that are protected by armor specially designed to resist anti-tank ammunition.

For their part, NATO armored vehicles such as the most advanced versions of the Leopard use variants of the Chobham armour, a secret combination of steel alloys, ceramics, composite materials and, according to some rumours, depleted uranium. Layers too. This makes them true armored cars that are incredibly resistant to both blast and heat.

Laser weapons include the high energy consumption DSTG Omicrono

For a solid-state laser to break through all those protective layers to the point of disabling the vehicle, it would take a long firing time or a power unmatched by any weapon currently developed. This includes HELIOS, the laser weapon for ships with which the US can shoot down planes and sink ships, or the Chinese anti-aircraft shield that carbonizes drones in seconds.

To do this would require a massive amount of energy projected into a single point of armor. This will mean improvements not only to the laser, but also to its power supply, the fiber optic coil responsible for generating the energy pulse, the aiming system… That’s why what Australia is funding is not just the development of a prototype, But a complete manufacturing plant.

“The DSTG is collaborating with industry to build advanced and competitive capabilities for the Australian Defense Force in critical technology areas,” said Tanya Monro, DSTG chief defense scientist. “The high-energy laser manufacturing capability is an example of how we can work with industry to support emerging and disruptive technologies.”

In this sense, China is a step ahead, as scientists from the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have come up with the key to using a superweapon: a hypersonic generator that can convert hot gas into a powerful electric current.

This innovative device, called a magnetohydrodynamic generator or MHD, was able to generate intense pulses of up to 212 kW using just one liter of argon gas during one experiment. This means the enormous ability to release strong bursts of energy in rapid succession, as required for high-energy lasers, railguns, or microwave weapons.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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