Target for Military Laser


Potential military uses for lasers have attracted both government funding and popular interest. While laser ”ray guns” remain in the realm of science fiction, significant research has been conducted toward that goal. In the 1980s, tests of a deuterium-fluoride (or DF) chemical laser were conducted at the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal. A chemical reaction created the energy necessary to generate a laser beam. As this object shows, that beam can be quite powerful.

In 1985, the Army transferred this test target to the Smithsonian. The target consists of six steel plates, each about 2 mm thick, bolted together. A hole of decreasing diameter is burned through the target from front to back. Information provided with the target reported that a 130 kilowatt laser illuminated the target from a distance of 60 meters for 5 seconds.

Date Made: 1984

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Laser


See more items in: Work and Industry: Electricity, Military, Energy & Power, Lasers, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from the U. S. Dept. Of the Army; Army Missile Command

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1985.0321.01Accession Number: 1985.0321Catalog Number: 1985.0321.01

Object Name: laser targetOther Terms: laser target; Lasers and Masers

Physical Description: steel (overall material)Measurements: overall: 5 in x 6 in x 5 1/4 in; 12.7 cm x 15.24 cm x 13.335 cm


Record Id: nmah_713876

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