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New World War: Revolutionary Methods for Political Control

Dedication & Thanks

Volume I: Current Political Situation

Volume II: The New War

Volume III: Weapons of The New War

Volume IV: The Coverup


High-Powered Lasers

Lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) offer the extremely accurate speed-of-light transmission of an invisible energy beam over very long ranges. They have an almost unlimited magazine capacity, limit collateral damage, and cost less per shot than conventional weapons.

They have both counter personnel and counter material uses. Some laser weapons are rheostatic, which means their power levels can be adjusted to produce controllable effects.

While laser research dates back to the late 1950s, the first tactical laser in the US, the Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL), a megawatt deuterium fluoride laser (DF) laser built by TRW, was tested against missiles and airplanes in 1973. In 1978, the Air Force Weapons Laboratory developed the first chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) laser.

Early research on tactical lasers was done by DARPA beginning in the late 1970s, and then transferred to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1984. Now the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), SDI’s successor, continues this research today. In the late 1960s Russia had developed a nuclear laser capable of shooting down aircraft.

Lasers can be infrared, ultraviolet, and X-ray. Basically, the action of a laser consists of a casing with a mirror on each end. Inside the casing is something called a gain medium (also called a lasing medium). Energy is supplied to the casing, which bounces back and forth off each mirror.

As the energy moves back and forth it travels through the gain medium, which amplifies its power. Eventually, it gains enough power to pass through one of the mirrors, which is partially transparent, emitting a ray of light energy. The gain medium (the amplifying property of the action) can be a liquid, gas, plasma, or solid.

The two basic modes of operation are pulsed and continuous wave (CW). Chemical lasers such as the COIL are CW. Solid-state lasers are usually pulsed. These pulses can be so close together that the beam appears to be continuous. The laser works by burning away layers of its target. The only difference between common lasers, such as a laser pointer or the laser in a DVD player, and a laser used to shoot down rockets, is power.

Lasers can be phased by combining multiple lasers of the same wavelength. When this happens the electromagnetic power is not just doubled, it is squared. So, two lasers produce the effect of four. Three lasers produce the effect of nine, etc.

Some lasers have better beam quality than others. For instance the COIL and free electron laser (FEL) have excellent beam quality, while the deuterium fluoride (DF) laser’s isn’t as good. These lasers will be discussed in more detail shortly.

Laser weapon platforms have a Beam Control System (BCS) built into their ATP/FC system to compensate for atmospheric beam disruption. The atmosphere consists of various gases such as nitrogen and oxygen, as well as water, dust, pollen, smoke, and rain. The temperature also varies from place to place and constantly fluctuates.

All of these conditions exist in an atmosphere which changes hundreds of times per second. This produces an extremely volatile environment. Because of this, the laser beam will expand, change course, scatter, reflect and even change the atmosphere which it travels through.

So, a feature called Adaptive Optics (AO) has been built into the (BCS) of the ATP/FC mechanism of some laser weapons. AO works best for a long-distance high-powered laser beam which needs to be sent through the atmosphere hundreds of miles. First, a low-powered laser is sent to the target which measures the atmospheric conditions. This laser sends the information back to a computer. A flexible mirror sits behind the exiting mirror. The computer measures the conditions, then adjusts the flexible mirror 2,000 times a second using tiny motors. This occurs much faster than the atmosphere can change.

The mirror is adjusted so the high-powered beam will be predistorted in the opposite manner of the low-powered beam. When the high-powered beam exits the weapon, all inaccuracies caused by the atmospheric conditions have been corrected, and it hits its target. Although the atmosphere changes hundreds of times per second, the AO process occurs in milliseconds, quicker than the atmosphere can change.

There is a variety of ways to categorize lasers. For this chapter there will be two basic types: chemical and solid state.1

Chemical Lasers

Chemical lasers are capable of producing a CW beam in the multi-megawatt level. Lasers using chemicals as an action are very powerful. Many of these types operate in the infrared region.

They include the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL), the Hydrogen Fluoride laser (HF), the Deuterium Fluoride Laser (DF), and the Deuterium Fluoride-Carbon Dioxide Laser (DF-CO). Out of the three, the COIL has the shortest wavelength and travels through the atmosphere most efficiently.

The Airborne Laser (ABL) and the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) systems, which will be discussed shortly, both use the COIL gain medium.

The gas chemicals used in chemical laser actions function at low pressure, but its flow approaches the speed of light. Because of the corrosive nature of these chemicals, they require special storage and handling. Another disadvantage is that the platforms are somewhat large.

Pulsed-Energy Projectile

The Pulsed-Energy Projectile (PEP) is a pulsed DF chemical anti-personnel laser, which shoots ionized plasma up to a distance of 1.5 miles. Like all lasers, it travels at the speed of light and has pinpoint accuracy. It has a tunable effect from lethal to non-lethal. Some of its effects include temporary paralysis and shock.

A single burst can produce a compound effect consisting of a flash-bang (bright light and loud noise), with a substantial ultrasonic (kinetic) impact. This results in the target being blinded, deafened and thrown back, all at once. Mission Research Corporation, the developer, says it can also be tuned to cause pain, choking, and heart fibrillation.

According to the National Research Council the PEP is capable of causing temporary paralysis. The Center for Technology and National Security Policy, an advisory group for the allied militaries, describes the PEP as one of the most advanced counter personnel lasers being pursued by the JNLWP. In May 2005, New Scientist reported that the NIJ was working with Sterling Photonics of Albuquerque New Mexico to build a smaller, electric version of the PEP for police.

Tactical High-Energy Laser

Both the Tactical High-Energy Laser (THEL) and the Mobile Tactical High-Energy Laser (MTHEL) were developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation. These DF lasers are used to target rocket warheads by heating them up until they explode.2 The US Army and the Israeli Ministry of Defense selected Northrop Grumman Corporation to create the MTHEL in August 2003. The MTHEL is a product of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD).

The THEL will be used to protect forces in combat and critical infrastructures, including urban areas. It uses a combination of radar and laser sensors for rangefinding and tracking. First, the radar detects the target, and then the computer transfers the information to an optical tracking system, which refines the tracking and positioning of the beam director. In the summer of 2004 the THEL successfully demonstrated the simultaneous engagement of mortar rounds and rockets in August and June at the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

According to Richard J. Bradshaw, the US Army’s program manager for directed-energy weapons, the beam is capable of moving around solid objects. The laser sensor unit apparently detects these objects during rangefinding, and the computer calculates the distance and size of the object. Then, just before the laser beam hits the object, it’s cut off, and resumes on the other side.


SkyGuard, developed by Northrop Grumman, is a compact, multi-mission, portable laser weapons platform designed for local defense. It provides a 360 degree protective dome about 7 miles in diameter. A single SkyGuard system is said to be able to defend large areas, such as those occupied by a military force or a civilian population.

SkyGuard uses a THEL laser. Reportedly, it will be used by the US and allied governments to destroy ballistic missiles, rockets, artillery, and UAVs. Alexis Livanos, president of Northrop Grumman Space Technology, says SkyGuard is a fully functional weapon that will be used against “a wide range of threats.”

Advanced Tactical Laser

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is a product of the ACTD, developed by Boeing for the US Military. It will be used for various tactical missions. Most information pertaining to it is classified. Although it was originally intended to be mounted on a C-130 aircraft, it is capable of being mounted on a variety of fixed-wing or rotary-wing craft, as well as trucks such as the humvee.

The platform consists of a laser, sensor unit, and control system. The action is a closed-cycle (no exhaust), 70 kW COIL system, designed to destroy stationary or moving ground targets. The ATL has an ultra-precision strike capability. The ATL, which is capable of attacking military targets at 15 miles away with surgical accuracy, will allow the military to, “covertly conduct precise engagements at tactically significant standoff distances,” says the US Air Force.

Reportedly, it will be used against vehicles, aircraft, rockets, communications systems, surveillance systems, and according to the US Air Force other military targets.

Airborne Lase

The Airborne Laser (ABL) is an air-based, multimegawatt COIL laser, designed to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) in their boost phase. It uses a variety of laser sensors connected to a computer to provide a 360 degree protective dome with a 700 mile radius. The detection, tracking and acquisition unit consists of several modules. First, multiple infrared laser sensors provide autonomous missile detection. Then the Tracking Illumination Laser (TILL) tracks it.

While this is happening, the Beacon Illuminator Laser (BILL) measures the atmospheric conditions and distance between the laser and the missile. This occurs in milliseconds. Finally, the laser is fired at the missile’s fuel tank, causing the tank to explode. The ABL was originally designed to be mounted to a modified 747 aircraft, but according to the Journal of Electronic Defense, the military has considered other possibilities. It was tested successfully in 2006.

Solid-State Lasers

Solid-state lasers (SSL) have an electric gain medium consisting of crystals, semiconductors, or glass fibers, which produce a high-powered beam in the infrared spectrum. They’re much smaller in size than chemical lasers and are easier to manage and transport. They are highly mobile, air-based, sea-based, and ground-based weapons that can be powered by the engine of a vehicle. They have kilowatt power levels, and typically produce pulsed, infrared beams.

Some solid-state pulsed lasers are referred to as fem-to-second lasers. Fem-to-second is a time measurement consisting of a millionth of a billionth of a second. If the pulse of a laser occurs within that time period, it’s considered a fem-to-second laser.

A CW laser can cut through material but it heats it in the process. One benefit of the fem-to-second feature is that because the pulse occurs ultra-fast, the targeted material doesn’t have time to heat up. Due to their potentially unlimited magazine capacity, low cost per shot, small size, ease of maintenance, and transportable nature, there is a significant effort underway to create smaller, lighter, more efficient solid-state lasers.

Under the section, Joint High Power Man-Portable Thermal Laser, the 2007 DOD annual report says that a counter personnel weapon is under development by the NIJ and AFRL, working with Colorado State University. This is to be a man-portable laser. Its effects, according to the report, would be similar to the ADS.

In March 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that Northrop Grumman Corporation has developed a highly portable 100 kilowatt electric laser with lethal capabilities. The name of the weapon was not revealed.

High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System

The High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) is a 150 kilowatt, mobile, high-energy, pulsed laser. It’s about 2 cubic meters in size and weighs less than 1700 lbs. Although the gain medium consists of a liquid and solid combination, it’s considered a solid-state laser. Most of the details regarding this weapon are classified. It is to be built by General Atomics, with the tracking system (presumably consisting of lasers) designed by Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Although mainstream sources depict the weapon as under development, DARPA had this to say: “The HELLADS program has completed the design and demonstration of a revolutionary subscale [150 kilowatt] high-energy laser that supports the goal of a lightweight and compact high energy laser weapon system.”

It was intended to be an air-based weapon attached to an aircraft, but according to New Scientist, DARPA has managed to make it small enough to be mounted to a vehicle. Lockheed Martin says the laser can be placed on a range of potential platforms.

Laser Area Defense System

The Laser Area Defense System (LADS) is an extremely mobile solid-state laser, which can fire a beam at extended ranges. Not much information is available on this weapon. But, allegedly it will be used to shoot rockets, UAVs, ships and other targets, which its specification sheet says are a “growing concern for military and civilian leaders who must ensure the safety and security of people.”

LADS can be powered by a commercially available generator or electrical grid, which give it an almost infinite magazine capacity. According to Raytheon, the control and tracking unit (presumably computer-linked sensors) offers precise search, track and engage capabilities for directing the high-powered laser on a target. It is capable of the fast, sustained, simultaneous engagement of multiple targets in a 360 degree area, at significant ranges.

Free Electron Laser

Free Electron Lasers (FEL) are electrically driven, solid-state pulsed lasers.3 The gain medium is an accelerating electron beam which passes through a series of magnets. They have the most tunable frequency range of any laser. In fact, the FEL is a type of compound directed-energy weapon because it can be adjusted to emit rays ranging from gamma to microwave, and any specific wavelength in between.

This includes the millimeter wavelength, which also makes it a high-powered microwave. It has a potentially unlimited magazine capacity, and its rays are extremely accurate. It is expected to produce power in the megawatt level. In 2004 the creation a 10 kilowatt FEL was announced by the US Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Directed-Energy and Electric Weapons Office.

The DSB says the FEL is equipped with a high-precision locating and tracking unit, which will allow it to detect, track and destroy supersonic missiles. This infers a sensor mechanism consisting of lasers and computers.

Laser Induced Plasma Channel

The Laser Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC), built by Applied Energetics, is a portable, solid-state, pulsed, fem-to-second laser, which uses a laser as a conduit to transport ionized gas (plasma). This has been called the Laser Guided Energy (LGE).4

Plasma is a type of ionized or electrified gas. A neon sign, for example, uses plasma. A natural example of plasma is a bolt of lightening. This weapon differs from other lasers, in the sense that the laser itself does not produce the effect; rather it is used to guide the electrified plasma which shocks the target. AE built this weapon for the US Military. DRS built its energy management system, sensors, and related platform technologies.

It is a counter personnel and counter material weapon. Its intended uses include stopping the engines of vehicles, ships, or aircraft, as well as destroying electronic equipment. It will also be used as a wireless taser on groups and individuals. The weapon offers the precision delivery of massive amounts of electricity.

The exact range of the weapon has not been revealed. However, considering its intended target sets (e.g., airplanes, ships), as well as the average range of other solid-state lasers, the weapon must have a considerable range. And the NATO Human Effects of Non-Lethal Technologies of August 2006 says that such a weapon is capable of transmitting electrical energy at long distances.

It is tunable from lethal to nonlethal. The weapon will be used for the “disabling of individuals and groups,” said National Defense Magazine on February 2, 2009. But at higher power levels, it is a bolt of lightening. Another effect it can produce, if adjusted properly, is a flash-bang.

In 2002, Time Magazine mentioned a flashlight-sized device was being developed which could shock a person up to 1.5 miles away. “Shine that light on a human target,” they advised in their Beyond the Rubber Bullet article, “and you have a wireless taser.”

Space-Based Lasers (SBL)

In the early 1980s research on Space-Based Lasers (SBLs) was conducted under the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). In 1991 a megawatt laser called the Alpha, which was developed by the SDI, tested successfully in a simulated space environment.

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) is currently overseeing SBL research. Russia was also conducting tests on SBLs as early as the 1976. The US Air Force and the BMDO are currently funding the Space-Based Laser Integrated Flight Experiment (SBL-IFX) program, which aims to have high-powered lasers affixed to satellites by 2010.

The program team also consists of TRW, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Reportedly, these SBLs will be used to shoot down ICBMs anywhere on the planet. A beam from an SBL will destroy a ballistic missile target in its boost-phase.

An SBL allows for missile interception by focusing and maintaining a high-powered laser on a target until it achieves catastrophic destruction. Up to 24 orbiting satellites would be equipped with an HF megawatt laser capable of shooting a beam of energy up to 5,000 kilometers.

The lasers will be able to destroy missiles in less than 10 seconds, and retarget in ½ second. According to the US Air Force, these systems will be capable of detecting and negating such targets anywhere in the world at anytime.

In June of 2004 under the heading, US Wants to Build Space Laser in Total Secrecy, in the Ottawa Citizen, the Canadian Military warned that the public is being misinformed regarding the progress and scope of the SBL program. They said that the program exists so that space could be dominated by the US and its allies. And that information regarding it would become increasingly scarce. This may be true, because according to the US Military, destroying missiles isn’t the only intended use for SBLs.

SBLs offer the capability to strike targets on the ground, says the DSB. The SBL will also be used for ground surveillance and reconnaissance, destroying enemy satellites, and airplanes. The SBL will be used in direct, offensive roles against adversarial targets, including the strategic interdiction of soft ground targets, and other military targets, says the US Air Force.

But an SBL isn’t required to send a beam of energy from a single source to anywhere on the planet. According to the Air Force, a ground-based or air-based laser weapons platform can use relay mirrors to accomplish this. With a minimum of three space-based mirrors, a laser beam originating from earth could be directed anywhere on the planet at the speed of light.

The mirrors can be either space-based attached to low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites, or air-based attached to unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs. The US Air force says that such an arrangement allows for a ground-based laser to perform all the same functions as an SBL. In 1991 the Air Force’s relay mirror experiment successfully demonstrated that a laser can be shot from the ground to a mirror attached to a LEO and be reflected to a target on the surface of the planet.

According to the Air Force, this approach offers more pointing accuracy and beam stability than required by an SBL. In May 1996 the US Air Force suggested the use of solar-powered SBLs in their An Operational Analysis for Air Force 2025 report. Some proposed weapons include the solar-powered high-energy laser system and the solar energy optical weapon (SEOW).5

The solar-powered high-energy laser system is a space-based, multimegawatt, high energy solar-powered laser that will be used in several modes of operation. In its weapons mode with the laser at high power, it will be able to attack ground, air, and space targets, says the Air Force, with adjustable lethality.

The SEOW allows solar radiation to be focused on specific ground, air, or space targets. The weapon can also operate in surveillance mode, where it provides global optical surveillance by active or passive imaging. It can even be used to produce a space-based solar flashlight which illuminates air, ground, and space targets with focused solar radiation.

Uses and Effects

Admitted uses for lasers include disabling vehicles by targeting specific systems, such as the electrical system or the engine. They can also burst tires, or crack fuel tanks. They can interfere with communications signals, and cut through electrical or communications lines. They can also be used to melt or burn material and set fires.

Lasers can be used to crack glass in less than a second. In December 1997, The Journal of Electronic Defense announced that in addition to its missile defense, the Air Force was considering using the multimegawatt ABL, which has a 700 mile reach, for other missions.

Author Doug Beason describes in his book The E-Bomb, that like all technological advances the ABL will be used for purposes other than its original intent. Lasers such as the PEP will be used to attack military targets such as a “targeted individual” announced National Defense News on March 1, 2002.

The US Air Force’s August 2003 report, Non-Lethal Weapons, advocates using DF and HF lasers on people. These are high-powered lasers that were originally designed to shoot down rockets.

They include the THEL and the highly portable SkyGuard. Vehicle-mounted lasers, says the US Air Force, have “direct applicability in the non-lethal counter-personnel area,” by allowing the security forces to attack people at standoff ranges. “Once an asset has been turned over to the warfighter,” reveals Beason, “it’s almost guaranteed that a new, perhaps even more important application will be realized.”

Depending on how they are adjusted, lasers can produce a variety of effects. The power level, frequency, duration of the beam, mode of operation (pulsed or CW) and atmospheric conditions determine the effects. They can temporarily or permanently blind a person, or cause afterimaging. Upon hitting a person, they can produce a combination of a bright flash, loud noise (flash-bang), and kinetic force. They can cause minor or severe skin burns in less than a second.

The eyes are the most sensitive external organs that are vulnerable to laser attack. Eye damage occurs at lower power levels and duration than that which affects the skin. Laser attacks to the eyes can cause burns, corneal lesions, cataracts, and retinal lesions. Depending on the frequency and power of the laser, the eye damage may be permanent or temporary.

Lasers can paralyze specific parts of the body with electric shocks and muscle spasms (tentanization). These spasms can be clonic, which means they occur in a quick manner of contraction and relaxation, or tonic which is the sustained contraction (locking) of certain muscles. At high powers, lasers can obviously cause death.

On July 10, 2005, the Chicago Sun-Times warned that laser weapons had been created that could neutralize targets from tens of miles away. And that such a strike would be so surgical that the military could plausibly deny responsibility.

“Laser technologies, which have application in both counter personnel and material scenarios,” described the Naval War College on May 17, 2004, “can be extremely precise over long ranges [and] allow for the neutralization or destruction of legitimate military targets.”


Lasers, which can cause a variety of effects, are considered NLW to be used on groups and individuals. They allow for the silent, invisible, and traceless precision attack of military targets at great distances.



1 According to the Defense Science Board (DSB), there are four basic types: chemical lasers, solid-state lasers, fiber lasers, and free-electron lasers. See its December 2007 task force report Directed-Energy Weapons and Technology Applications. The August 1, 1993 article by Don Herskovitz entitled Killing Them Softly, which appeared in the Journal of Electronic Defense, says there are several kinds including: gas, excimer, chemical, and a type that includes crystals and semiconductors which appears to be solid-state. Although semiconductor and glass fiber lasers are often placed in a separate category, they can also be described as solid-state. Some publications list fem-to-second lasers in their own category. But this appears to be a feature exhibited by some solid-state lasers. Fem-to-second lasers have glass fiber and semiconductor gain mediums, which indicates they're solid-state, and is the reason they're listed as a feature of solid-state lasers. See The Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology, at Although some material lists FELs in a separate category due to their gain medium, the book The E-Bomb, by Doug Beason, describes them as electrically-driven, solid-state lasers.

2 The Defense Science Board (DSB), mentioned in its task force report, Directed-Energy Weapons and Technology Applications in December 2007, that either the MTHEL or THEL has been discontinued, but was vague in describing which.

3 According to the 2005 book, The E-Bomb, by Doug Beason, FELs have existed for decades.

4 The Business Wire report DRS, Technologies and Ionatron Sign Strategic Agreement for Laser-Induced, Plasma-Channel Weapon Development and Application, of May 4, 2006, says that the LGE and LIPC are two separate weapons, but indicates they use the same plasma technology.

5 Similar to their explanation of the space-based high-powered microwaves, the US Air Force says that these weapons don't exist, yet uses wording which suggests that some of them are functional.