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July 20th, 2010

U.S. Navy Shoots Down Target Drones with Laser “Death-Ray”

With modern benchrest guns capable of shooting “zero” groups in competition, one wonders what is next in the accuracy game. Perhaps laser rifles? Well, the U.S. Navy believes high-tech lasers may replace projectile weapons in the future — the very near future. In fact, the Navy has already successfully tested a deadly laser cannon.

U.S. Navy Blasts Drones Out of Sky with 32 Kilowatt Laser Cannon
The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), with support from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), successfully tracked, engaged, and destroyed mock-threat Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) flying over the ocean. The Navy’s new “Death Ray”, actually a high-intensity (32 Kw) laser, was aimed using a beam director on a KINETO Tracking Mount, controlled by a MK 15 Close In Weapon System (CIWS).

According to Scientific American: “During the test, the Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS) … engaged and destroyed four UAV targets flying over water near the Navy’s weapons and training facility on San Nicolas Island in California’s Santa Barbara Channel, about 120 kilometers west of Los Angeles. The Phalanx — a rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system — used electro-optical tracking and radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS, which is made up of six solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts that simultaneously focus on a target.”

U.S. Navy Laser Cannon Death Ray

According to Navy sources: “This marks the first detect-thru-engage laser shoot-down of a threat representative target in an over-the-water, combat representative scenario. Multiple UAV targets were engaged and destroyed in a maritime environment during the testing, the second series of successes for the U.S. Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS) Program. This brings to a total of seven UAVs destroyed by the Surface Navy’s first tactical development for fielding a Directed Energy weapon system.”

Watch the video below to see delta-winged UAV “splashed” by the Navy’s new “Death Ray”.


According to Program Manager Capt. David Kiel: “Further development and integration of increasingly more powerful lasers into Surface Navy LaWS will increase both the engagement range and target sets that can be successfully engaged and destroyed.” As lasers and other directed-energy systems are perfected, the Navy expects to improve the speed of its responses to aerial threats, while reducing weapons costs: “Laser weapons that provide for speed-of-light engagements at tactically significant ranges [can achieve] cost savings by minimizing the use of defensive missiles and projectiles.”

CLICK HERE for Related Scientific American Story.

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July 20th, 2010

Hunting and Target Shooting Grow in Popularity Among Women

women hunting huntressLast year saw a significant 5.4% increase in the number of female hunters in the United States — that means 163,000 new ladies hunting with firearms and/or bows. In fact, in 2009 the rate of increase in hunting participation is higher for women than for men, according to new figures from the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

Data also show that women outpaced men among newcomers to target shooting. Female participation in rifle target shooting grew by 4.1%. That’s a big change in a single year. The number of women involved in Muzzle-loading activites showed a remarkable 134.6% annual increase.

The growth in new participation among women, perhaps counter-intuitive to traditionalists, is no surprise to Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). Steve explained, “Over the past several years [we have] encouraged existing hunters and shooters to introduce their spouses, daughters and other newcomers to shooting sports and outdoor lifestyles. I believe these efforts are paying off.”
Photo courtesy Próis hunting clothing for women.

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