Saturday, September 01, 2007

Of Ray Guns and Lung Sucking Bombs

Shortly after the opening of the Lair we looked into the Heat Ray Gun which has been developed for the Military. We took another look when it was certified safe for use.

Now it is shown that, not happy with just making peoples skin begin to cook, they in fact are looking for something more akin to the Death Rays of science fiction movies.

In an article in The Register we find the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to develop new fiber optics to raise the power level to 300,000 watts or more, 1,500 times the power of conventional fiber optic lasers:

American arms giant Raytheon, working with the US forces and Sandia National Lab, told Wired magazine it has used a bundle of fibre lasers with a total strength of 20 kilowatts to explode mortar bombs very quickly in tests - so quickly that it might be possible to build a system that could shoot down enemy salvos in mid-air. Most raygun fanciers, though, reckon that 100kW is the minimum for a proper blaster cannon which would be fun to have.

Off-the-shelf combinable fibre laser amplifiers are currently limited to 200 watts each, according to DARPA: and it wants to push this up to 1kW to start with, then to 3KW in the next phase. That would mean a Raytheon/Sandia style bundle would scale up to 100kW or even 300kW, well into the proper-deathray range.

This weapon would join an array of high power laser ray guns currently under development for the US Army such as Northrop’s monster truck mounted high energy laser which is competing with Boeing’s Humvee mounted laser or the flying laser platform under development for the Pentagon.

Bomb Sucks Air From Lungs

In other developments the British Army has deployed shoulder-launched "light anti-structure munition” weapons in Afghanistan without reporting the deployment to Parliament.

These weapons are similar in function to the US Military’s Thermobaric bunker buster bombs and the bombs used by Russia to destroy the Chechen capital Grozny.

Thermobaric weapons first disperse an explosive chemical fog to fill a space and then ignite the explosive. First causing a high pressure wave followed a vacuum which sucks the air out of and collapses your lungs – if the initial pressure and heat didn’t kill you the deflated lungs and ruptured organs will.

British defense officials claim their weapon is different in that it doesn’t produce the heat factor. – How pleasant!

Raw Story reports:

According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, which released a study on thermobaric weapons in 1993, "The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique--and unpleasant.... What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.… If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents."

It seems there is a new push to not just kill, but do it in the most horrible manner:

A second DIA study said, "shock and pressure waves cause minimal damage to brain tissue... it is possible that victims of FAEs are not rendered unconscious by the blast, but instead suffer for several seconds or minutes while they suffocate."

"The effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense," said a CIA study of the weapons. "Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness."

Here is a demonstration of the effects of these types of weapons.