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use of lasers in warfare?

ixfd64

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Despite their potential advantages, it seems that lasers are still rarely used in warfare.

The U.S. military has tested several anti-missile laser systems, but they are still experimental. While those lasers have had a pretty good track record, I don't think any of them have actually been deployed on the battlefield.

Another obvious use of lasers is the ability to blind enemy soldiers. During the Gulf War, some U.S. troops tried (unsuccessfully) to bring down attacking Iraqi aircraft by aiming lasers at them. This is no longer legal due to the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, which was passed a few years later. However, just because there are "rules of war" doesn't mean people will abide by them. This is where guerilla warfare comes in. What really surprises me is that while we often hear of idiots aiming lasers at commercial aircraft, there have been no reports of, say, insurgents using lasers against U.S. military aircraft. (After all, photons are about 200,000 to 370,000 times faster than artillery.) Of course, that does not mean it has never happened, but the lack of news reports makes me believe otherwise. Incidentally, Wicked Lasers used to have a company policy against shipping lasers to Iraq, but I don't think this is any longer the case. (The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq might have had a very different outcome had it happened a few years later, though.)

Does anyone know if there have been any major cases in which lasers were used in combat?
 
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millirad

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It is easy for military pilots to have anti-laser technology added to their helmets, similar to laser goggles and probably some more sophisticated viewing "heads up" display. But I don't know if there have been incidents already.
 

Astrogoth

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There were stories of Soviet troops with a laser rangefinder on their AK-47's using it to blind our guys out of sheer boredom in some border areas. I don't know more about it.
 

aryntha

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There are a few previous threads on this. The Geneva convention forbids the use of lasers in some way; I'm not sure the details, but basically, "lethal laser guns" are forbidden.

But for the most part, it's an issue of efficiency. They aren't very efficient.
 
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Cant say ive read anything regarding 'incidents'. I have seen many youtube videos with US soldiers using 532 pointers to aid in clearing a path through city traffic etc, but never a heard or seen them on the receiving end. Mind you there are not many pilots posting youtube vids, usually men on the ground..

Example





I personally have shipped a few hand-helds to that region, nothing other than APO and CFPO addresses. Same with the surrounding countries that are known for harboring...

While I could see the interest on the 'enemy' side, they must also realize that aiming a pointer at the US war machine will only serve to pin point exactly where they are. There has probably been an incident or two, just cant find anything on it.

Either that, or they just dont know where the batteries go...
 
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The reason guerrilla fighters aren't using lasers on aircraft is because they're not really useful. Lasers pose more of a threat in civilian airspace than military airspace for a few reasons, and even then the actual risk is minimal. While pointing lasers at planes is a bad idea, it's probably never going to cause a plane crash. If some insurgents pointed a laser at a heli to try and bring it down, the pilots would laugh their asses off as they sent a bunch of pod rockets towards the idiot with the pointer.
 

ShaOwned

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Lasers really aren't useful in warfare for the variety of reasons, a few of which have been listed. Their range of efficacy is minimal, blinding enemies is forbidden in the Geneva convention, and they just don't really DO anything...

LADAR is the best use of lasers in warfare.
 

oic0

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It is illegal to blind your enemies. There are lots of little rules in warfare. A lot of them make no sense and countries find ways around them, but ohwell. For example, no expanding munitions. Ohwell, we just use small high velocity FMJ rounds and weight them just right so they tumble inside a body causing the same effect (as a note, the US never agreed to that rule, we just sorta follow it mostly).

The last ground to ground laser I heard about was a femtosecond pulsed laser attached to a machine that detects optics pointed in its direction (no idea how that works, sounds sci-fi) . When an optic is pointed at it, it locks on to it and fires laser pulses at the lens which blow craters in it rendering it useless (sort of an anti sniper thing). Guess the enemy better start learning to use a good ol target aperture sight for those 100+ yard shots.
 
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It is illegal to blind your enemies. There are lots of little rules in warfare. A lot of them make no sense and countries find ways around them, but ohwell. For example, no expanding munitions. Ohwell, we just use small high velocity FMJ rounds and weight them just right so they tumble inside a body causing the same effect (as a note, the US never agreed to that rule, we just sorta follow it mostly).

The last ground to ground laser I heard about was a femtosecond pulsed laser attached to a machine that detects optics pointed in its direction (no idea how that works, sounds sci-fi) . When an optic is pointed at it, it locks on to it and fires laser pulses at the lens which blow craters in it rendering it useless (sort of an anti sniper thing). Guess the enemy better start learning to use a good ol target aperture sight for those 100+ yard shots.
I'm fairly sure the convex lenses at the ends of magnifying scopes make a telltale reflection (from the sun or from a bright light source on the target) when not properly covered up. And I've heard of this system, the chinese are putting it on their tanks IIRC. We have a similar system, but it detects the sound of enemy gunfire (non-NATO ammunition specifically) and automatically swivels towards the point where the gun was fired. The operator only needs to push a button and the system will fire at the sound origin. Unfortunately, the system gets confused when friendly troops rack their weapons :crackup: no friendly fire incidents yet though.
 




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