Next-gen US drone: Now equipped with ‘death ray’ laser

DARPA Laser

The latest development off the DARPA production line – drones equipped with lasers so powerful that they are capable of “destroying objects at the speed of light”. The boundaries between science and science fiction are becoming increasingly blurred. This is a truly frightening weapon, giving those that wield it the power to hold the world to ransom.

The next generation of military drones, unveiled by a leading US manufacturer, will not just carry a limited supply of rockets – but will likely be fitted with an ultra-light laser, capable of repeatedly destroying objects at the speed of light.

“It would give us an unlimited magazine,” a person close to the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program told Time magazine.

Over the past four years, the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) has given contractor General Atomics over $60 million to develop and then scale HELLADS – a powerful 150 kW ray with a difference.

Current lasers of that strength – enough to destroy an incoming rocket or plane – are bulky, which means they can only be placed on stationary defense systems.

HELLADS, which DARPA says is in the “final development stage,” is radically lighter. It will weigh only 750 kilograms – less than a very small car.

This vastly opens up its potential uses.

A key application of HELLADS is in the new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones.

In a digital video advertising its own Predator C Avenger drone, General Atomics shows a formation of UAVs annihilating a shower of ground-launched interceptor missiles in a split second, before making them an offensive weapon and targeting objects on the ground.

The capacity of the laser is likely to be multiplied by the capability of the Predator itself. General Atomics believes the most efficient use of the relatively cheap, high-speed drones will be as a large “swarm” of integrated units that can overcome even a large defense network, at the expense of a small amount mechanical casualties.

Read the full article here: http://rt.com/news/hellads-drone-predator-darpa-762/

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