The Army Laser System Shot Down Mortar Bombs

 Army Laser System Shot Down Mortar Bombs: The U.S. military’s laser system dropped several mortar bombs in the middle of the flight. The laser was originally designed to protect soldiers from airplanes and drones.

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This is the first time in hundreds of years that someone has deployed an artillery shelling system.

A laser system designed to protect ground forces from drones and airplanes has been successfully used to drop mortar bombs from the sky. The U.S. military’s DE M-SHORAD laser weapons system dropped several mortar bombs in a series of tests, making it one of the few weapons in war history to be able to protect troops from indirect firearms. If this system proves effective against large shells and rockets, it could wage a modern war on its own.

According to Raytheon, the tests were carried out in the White Sands Missile Range of the US Army in New Mexico. The DE M-SHORAD system “achieved, tracked, targeted and defeated” in mid-flight.

DE M-SHORADS laser and sensor mast.

The Direct Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) consists of a 50kW-class high-energy laser weapon module, a special radar acquisition system, a beam control system, and a targeting sensor mounted on the Striker Armored Vehicle. DE M-SHORAD’s main emphasis was on protecting ground forces from fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and all kinds of drones. Raytheon says the laser can engage “rockets, artillery, and mortars.”

A mortar is simple, light artillery used by infantry. A mortar usually consists of a steel tube and a heavy base plate. A mortar bomb, usually filled with more explosives, is dropped into the tube first. Once it hits the bottom of the tube, the bomb hits the firing pin and ignites the propellant charge. The bomb flies out of the tube and lands on the target. Soldiers adjust the range by moving the nut of the mortar tube up or down, giving the shell a higher or lower speed.

Mortars were used by both sides during the Civil War, including the siege of Yorktown in 1862.

The Army Laser System Shot Down Mortar Bombs

There is a lot that is not clear about the test. We don’t know if the laser system dropped all the mortar bombs, most of them, or some of them. We do not know if DE M-SHORAD placed the bombs on the head or from any angle, and if the bombs were at high or low speeds, which could affect sensor tracking and engagement. We don’t even know how the laser defeated the bombs, either by heating the surface and injecting explosives – if any – or by burning the mortar control wings.

Still, it’s a historic moment. Artillery shells have plagued ground forces for hundreds of years. Indirect fire, the use of artillery to fire at targets out of sight of a gun, is a particular problem because the shell can travel miles, far beyond the reach of its targets. Once fired, anyone can do anything but cover up and hope for the best. That’s why there is so much emphasis on finding and destroying artillery pieces on the battlefield before shooting them.

The system works against mortar bombs, but it remains to be seen how the DE M-SHORADS works against heavy 155mm Howitzer rounds and artillery rockets such as the Russian 122mm Grad-P. If successful, it could provide a shield for ground troops, protecting allied forces from bombing. Systems like the Finnish RM-70 Multiple Launch Rocket System, which can launch 40 rockets in less than a minute, will be a particular challenge.

A laser is an ideal weapon for engaging artillery. An anti-artillery missile could cost tens of thousands of dollars, while an artillery shell could cost less than $ 500. An army can save itself from artillery, but doing so will bankrupt itself. The cost of laser-firing is mainly the cost of diesel fuel that powers the weapon’s generator.

DE M-SHORADS still has to prove itself against bigger, worse artillery but mortar tests are a promising development. Soldiers on the ground may eventually be able to do more than just cover the artillery whistle – they may soon be able to drop incoming shells. The dream of tens, if not millions, of soldiers to be covered by artillery shelling for centuries is finally coming true.

 

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