The Army tests its truck-mounted laser cannon
The US military has been working on various iterations of laser-based weapons since the mid-1990s, but development has been slow going. Transitioning laser technology from a lab setting to active combat is no easy feat. Recently, though, the Defense Department shifted development funding from messy liquid-based lasers to the more portable and stable solid-state variety, a move that is already paying dividends. Northrop Grumman showcased its 13.4KW Gamma laser cannon in May, and the Navy set dinghies alight with its Maritime Laser Demonstrator in 2011, Then, last week, Boeing showed off what is essentially a laser cannon on wheels: The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD).
The HEL MD is currently in Phase II of its development. The High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) vehicle was developed during Phase I. Now, funded by a contract $38 million contract by the US Army, a 10KW solid state laser will be installed atop the vehicle, an eight-wheeled Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, with a 500 hp Caterpillar C-15 engine capable of toting up to 16.5 tons.
But will it work?
Oh yeah, without a doubt it works.