In Pictures: Most amazing war-related technology of 2014

Military firing up lasers, robotic animals and iPad-controlled combat boats

More fun with lasers This weird looking contraption, with its steampunk aesthetic, isn’t a weapon. Yet. It’s a DARPA project called Excalibur and it’s intended to make really powerful lasers that are a lot smaller and lighter than today’s chemical lasers. It does so by using coherent optical phase arrays, with each element (the blue-tinted lenses) driven by fiber laser amplifiers. In a test earlier this year, Excalibur precisely hit a target over four miles away. The business end is three clusters of seven fiber lasers; each cluster is barely 4-inches across. Fittingly, the military acronym for high-energy lasers is HEL.

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