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Will Soldiers Soon Use Laser Guns?

News  July 14 2011
 — By Nora Holloway
Will Soldiers Soon Use Laser Guns?

Laser beam utilized in European Southern Observatory mission. via Wiki Commons/ G. Hüdepohl, of ESO

Many a science fiction movie has depicted warriors holstering laser-firing guns. Star Wars characters aimed blasters. Starfleet Command issued small personal phasers. What if this laser weaponry was a reality?

While rayguns aren’t in the immediate future for the military, TeraDiode has been working on expanding the applications of direct-diode lasers into the area of defense. Lasers have been used for years, but due to their bulky nature and monster-sized appetite for power resources they been utilized mostly for industrial purposes. You know, like welding and cutting dense materials. TeraDiode has stated it has found a way to both effectively increase the brightness and power of the lasers.

In the not-to-distant future, U.S. soldiers may have weapons similar to Starfleet Command officers.

And how exactly do they intend on doing this? Easy — by combining the beams. Technically, the process is called wavelength beam combining. With this breakthrough, the company has found an efficient way to increase the brightness and power of the laser beams. For a more detailed description of the process, check out TeraDiode.

In an interview with Xconomy, CEO David Sossen shared that the company envisions selling lasers “compact enough to be deployable on a tank or ship.” These weapons could be used to disable unmanned aerial vehicles or stop incoming ammunition fire of all sizes.

A relatively small and new company, TeraDiode has already brought in more than $3 million in U.S. defense contracts. It would seem that we will be hearing much more about the company in the future.

How do you think weapons that fire lasers will effect how wars are fought?

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