UK funding combat lasers on Navy ships by 2020 and will use formula 1 flywheel technology to store energy for laser shots

The UK Ministry of Defence is looking to have a land-based cannon by 2017 and a ship-mounted one by 2020.

There were early experiments using lasers to try to blind enemy pilots or to disrupt the electronic systems of planes. But the new types of lasers being developed are intended to destroy, in particular enemy planes, and should be capable of dealing at high speed with multiple targets.

Admiral Sir George Zambellas said technological advances had the power to change how the navy operated. One of those advances, he said, was novel, high-energy weapons. “Energy weapons don’t require conventional ammunition. With a cost-per-shot potentially measured in pence rather than pounds, they offer a route to address the spiralling costs of missile development and production, as well as reducing supply chain demands,” he said.

This year the Ministry of Defence said it had instructed its development arm, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), to look at building a prototype. DSTL is exploring the role that electric flywheel technology, the kind used in Formula 1 racing, could play to generate and store the power required for high-energy weapons

Beacon Power opened a 5 MWh (20 MW over 15 mins) flywheel energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York in 2011

A 2 MW flywheel storage facility opened in Ontario, Canada in 2014. It uses a spinning steel flywheel on magnetic bearings.

In July 2014 GKN acquired Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) division and intended to supply 500 carbon fiber Gyrodrive electric flywheel systems to urban bus operators over the next two years.

William KERS flywheels weigh 40 kg and had about four times the energy density of ultracapacitors.

Advanced flywheels, such as the 133 kWh pack of the University of Texas at Austin, can take a train from a standing start up to cruising speed

Advanced FES systems have rotors made of high strength carbon-fiber composites, suspended by magnetic bearings, and spinning at speeds from 20,000 to over 50,000 rpm in a vacuum enclosure

SOURCES -Guardian UK,