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Laser weaponry holding much promise for air defense forces

December 12, 2014, 17:21 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool

MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Laser weapons are not perceived as something super-powerful anymore, or as an element of star wars but still they hold much promise for the air defense forces and more and more countries engage in developing them.

Russia is one of these countries, experts say.

Laser weaponry installed on a US naval ship has surpassed all expectations over the four months of trial operations, Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of naval research at the US Naval Research Office in Arlington revealed to the media. The new laser has a capability to destroy small ships and drones.

Projects for creating super-powerful laser weaponry have been dropped for technological reasons across the world. Combat laser has both apparent advantages and disadvantages, like considerable consumption of energy when it generates laser irradiation.

China is also developing laser weapons for intercepting low-flying drones, Xinhua news agency said recently.

In February 2014, the Israeli company Rafael ADS exhibited the Iron Beam laser-based air defense system capable of incapacitating missiles at a distance of up to two kilometers.

Russia is developing combat lasers of its own, former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General Yury Baluyevsky told the Gosnovosti agency.

“The only thing I can say is development of defense technologies and creation of samples of prospective top-notch and efficacious weaponry is proceeding at practically the same pace in all the countries that have capability for such R&D works,” he said.

Editor-in-Chief of the Natsionalnaya Oborona (National Defense) magazine, Igor Korotchenko, says the trial testing proves the US will install its laser systems on combat ships. In contrast to this, Russia is developing an air-based system.

Izvestia daily said back in November 2012 that the Russian Defense Ministry had placed an order with the defense industry to resume development of combat lasers. It quoted well-informed sources in the defense industry as saying that the order focused on modernization of an A-60 flying laboratory on the basis of the Ilyushin-76 airlifter.

“It is clear as daylight now that the transformation of Star Wars scenarios into reality has flopped but laser weapons should develop as part of tactical air defense strategies now,” Alexander Khramchikhin, a deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis told TASS. “That’s the only niche but there’s no alternative to lasers in it.”

“The Americans have drawn a conclusion that short-range air defense ia the only sphere where combat lasers can be applied,” he said. “Lasers can destroy small objects like drones or ammunitions.”

“It’s more or less clear today that lasers don’t have any other combat use, as the problems of energy and dispersal of the beam at long distances cannot be resolved at the current stage,” Khramchikhin said.

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