Combat Laser Tanks: Pros and Cons

The adoption by the leading armies of the world of arming combat lasers has become the mainstream of recent years. For example, the US has already installed the AN / SEQ-3 (LaWS) laser system on the USS Ponce offshore platform in 2014 and the ODIN combat laser on the USS Dewey missile destroyer.

Lasers are mounted on submarines, and the US Army and US Marines use them to destroy drones and small aircraft. As a prospect, the possibility of installing laser systems on AC-130 and F-35 aircraft is being considered.

What about laser tanks? Alas, so far they can only be seen in science fiction films and video games. It would seem that a lot speaks in favor of the laser tank: the price of a laser shot is much lower than the price of a projectile and, especially, a rocket. As practice has already shown, lasers do a good job with small flying objects.

Unfortunately, the pros end there. In a real battle, a laser tank will have to deal with an adversary “packaged” in powerful steel armor or its analogue from a ceramic composite and even from depleted uranium, against which modern lasers are powerless. To burn them, it will take considerable time and tremendous energy.

Another minus of modern combat lasers is their dependence on the state of the atmosphere. In particular, with a high concentration of water particles (fog, ice crystals) or soot, the laser beam quickly loses its strength. An adversary who discovers laser tanks doesn’t need to put a smokescreen, which will reduce all their firepower to nothing.

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