(From Popular Science)
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer
Laser weapons are not just the stuff of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but also now a real technology of growing importance to war. On November 7, 2015, a CCTV newscast showed that China is making great progress in this new weapons area, showing images of a laser weapon, the Low Altitude Guardian II (LAG II), destroying airborne targets at a military test site.
Claimed to be China’s most powerful laser weapon in the public domain (there are reports of more powerful but classified anti-satellite lasers), the LAG II is built by the Chinese Academy of Physics Engineering and Jiuyuan High Tech Equipment Corporation. Similar in size to the U.S. Marines’ Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-The-Move, it is mounted on a wheeled, towed carriage that carries its turret, power components, which can be pulled by a light truck. The LAG II’s turret, when its protective dome retracts, uses its electro-optical sensor to acquire and track targets autonomously, before destroying it upon command from a human operator. The LAG II could be upgraded with datalinks to off vehicle radars, which would allow the engagement of higher speed targets like rocket artillery. Read more