Navy Releases Cartoon of New Laser Weapon After Non-Productive P5+1 Talks

Yesterday saw several developments in response to the P5+1 talks with Iran ending over the weekend with no new date announced for the next round of talks. AP launched into a discussion of Congress enacting even more sanctions against Iran, although considerable gyrations are needed to identify just what else we could possibly limit after already enacting new sanctions four times since 2010. There also was very little consideration of the damage already done to Iranian citizens. In addition, the video above appeared in articles yesterday for both Wired’s Danger Room and the New York Times announcing a new laser weapon. The laser is said to be able to shoot down drones and to pierce light watercraft, and so it will be deployed in the Persian Gulf. But not until 2014. Maybe that extra time will allow the US to make sure the Filipino Monkey can’t cause any mischief when the weapon is deployed. I’m guessing that the Times is onto something with their observation that the “Pentagon has a long history of grossly inflating claims for its experimental weapons”, especially since the Pentagon’s video, while over three and a half minutes long, has only about a minute and fifteen seconds of real-life footage, with the rest consisting of computer animation. Even Iran’s Fars News has read the accompanying report linked in the Times article where we learn of the limitation of laser weapons:

The laser does, however, have its drawbacks.

Testing has revealed it is disrupted by bad weather: Rain and clouds can scatter the beam, as can smoke, sand and dust.

In addition, due to the nature of the laser beam, these weapons are necessarily “line of sight” weapons, meaning they cannot attack targets that are beyond the horizon in the way that ballistic missiles can. Also, the report points out the issue of “blooming” where the laser beam heats up the surrounding air, making targeting difficult for an object coming straight at the weapon. A bit of what could well be that effect is seen in the live action video, where the path of the laser beam as it hits the target becomes visible just as the target is beginning to burn.

The release of an “official” video announcing the weapon, but relying so extensively on computer animation brings to mind the ridiculous cartoon that George Jahn published during previous discussions of the disputed Parchin complex and Benjamin Netanyahu’s bomb cartoon he used at the UN. When trying to convince the world of the effectiveness of a weapon of ours or the danger of a technology held by an adversary, reliance on cartoons does not instill a high degree of confidence in those who are evaluating the argument.

Today, Iran observed their National Day of Nuclear Technology which commemorates their announcement in 2006 of “completing the nuclear fuel production cycle at laboratory scale”. Iran discussed both the development of new radiomedicines and expansion of uranium mining, but Reuters found only the uranium mining to be worth mentioning. That’s okay, though. It’s not like there is a history of bad things going on when discussing yellowcake and foreign WMD. Oh. Wait.

10 replies
  1. Jim White says:

    @jo6pac: And it’s not like there ever is any smoke in the air when wars start. Or sand flying when the wars are in desert countries.

    But gosh those weapons development contractors sure know how to milk a buck out of the process, don’t they?

  2. harpie says:

    Hi Jim!

    When trying to convince the world of the effectiveness of a weapon of ours or the danger of a technology held by an adversary, reliance on cartoons does not instill a high degree of confidence in those who are evaluating the argument.

    That’s why history has to be tweaked a bit:

    The Washington Post’s Warped Reality; Moon of Alabama; 4/9/13
    [They also note that the WSJ did the same thing a few days earlier.]

  3. Jim White says:

    @harpie: Good to see you!

    Thanks for that. I usually check on what b has had to say when I write about Iran since we seem to get provoked to action by the same developments but was in a hurry today and didn’t look.

  4. Jim White says:

    While writing this post, I missed the news that there has been a major earthquake in Iran. The quake was centered near the Bushehr nuclear reactor that is under construction, but initial reports are that the reactor has not been damaged:

    Twenty people have been killed after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Bushehr in Iran, according to AFP. The area is home to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which is located just 11 miles southeast of the city.

    The quake has been given “orange alert level” by the US Geological Survey (USGS). An orange alert means that significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.

    The earthquake’s epicenter was 89 kilometers (55 miles) away from the plant, just outside the town of Kaki. There are currently no reports available from the town.


    The Bushehr plant remains unaffected, according to an official from Atomstroyexport – the Russian company which built the station.

    “The earthquake in no way affected the normal situation at the reactor, personnel continue to work in the normal regime and radiation levels are fully within the norm,” he told RIA Novosti.


  5. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Let me see if I understand the last round of talks. The US and its allies expected a response to their proposals from the previous meeting which only served to partially (at most) defuse the crisis but the Iranians responded with more comprehensive proposals to solve all outstanding issues so the US walked out?

    What the hell is going on? Do we want to solve this or not?

Comments are closed.