I'd like to know why we aren't buying these by the bushel-full:
Israel Develops Laser to Destroy Roadside Bombs
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 / 17 Cheshvan 5767
The Israeli Armaments Development Authority (Rafael) has developed a laser system to diffuse destroy roadside bombs, which have killed hundreds of US and Israeli soldiers in Iraq and Lebanon.
Rafael and American defense contractor General Dynamics have produced and deployed the system, which is called Thor. It uses the concentrated energy of a high-powered laser to clear unexploded bombs and improvised explosive devices.
"The directed energy from the laser may also be used to ignite combustible materials, as a standoff cutting torch, and for other combat purposes," General Dynamics said in a statement about the project ahead of US moves to purchase and deploy the system in its army.
Thor combines the Israeli-produced high-energy laser with the Browning M2 12.7-mm machine gun, made by General Dynamics, to destroy explosive devices. The weapon is used with a remote operator control station or mounted on a vehicle or bomb-squad robot.
The Thor system includes sensors that work either in day or nighttime conditions to detect the hidden explosive charge. The developers report that the Thor system has already been deployed in combat operations. “Thor has demonstrated combat effectiveness in operational engagements bringing an additional precision fire gun platform to the fight, while at the same time filling a unique tactical mission role,” Rafael announced.
The developers explain that the directed energy from the laser is capable of rapidly clearing unexploded devices by inducing a low-order burning or deflagration reaction in the explosive material from a safe distance.
“The directed energy from the laser may also be used to ignite combustible materials, as a standoff cutting torch, and for other combat purposes,” the developer explains. “The kinetic energy from the 12.7mm bullet fired by the M2 functions as a standoff disrupter, destroying fusing, thick-cased munitions and booby traps, also enabling distancing explosive hazards away from the force route. The M2 machine gun ultimately provides accurate, direct fire upon enemy forces and targets in either an offensive or defensive role.”
The Armament Development Authority is supported by Israel’s Ministry of Defense and designs, develops, manufactures and supplies a wide range of advanced defense systems.