Today, the United States is among a number of nations working to develop and field advanced directed energy weapons, or lasers, for a number of military applications.18 posts and 12 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
Near the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union began experimenting with the idea of fielding a laser-equipped tank that could blind the targeting systems of inbound ballistic missiles or vehicles. Ultimately, two prototypes of the laser-armed 1К17 Сжатие, translated to “Compression,” were built, though they weren’t complete until the Soviet Union fell and was replaced by the new government of the Russian Federation.
Today, the United States is among a number of nations working to develop and field advanced directed energy weapons, or lasers, for a number of military applications. The U.S. Air Force recently announced its intentions to begin fielding lasers on their fighter platforms as soon as 2025, and the U.S. Navy began testing its latest laser, the MK 2 MOD 0, aboard the USS Portland in May of this year. But decades before these programs came to light, the Soviet Union was already exploring the idea of using lasers as a means of missile defense.
The Soviet strategy wasn’t to use these lasers to destroy incoming missiles like the applications in development today intend to. Instead, the Soviet laser tank aimed to blind or burn out the electro-optical sensors missiles used to find their targets. Once blinded or damaged, a missile would miss its intended target, whether that was the 1K17 or other nearby assets. Other planned applications included using the laser apparatus to blind heavy vehicles like tanks, making it impossible for them to aim and fire accurately.
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