Friday, July 21, 2017

High-Tech: TL 8 Lasers

Pew Pew Pew: Real Life Edition.
Yes you read that right, today I'm actually tackling something that's now TL 8 modern tech!

Now that things have calmed down at work a bit (for now at lest, the calm before the storm >.>) so I think it's time to get back into things.

To help ease myself back into blogging I decided to tackle a quick but quirky topic: How to stat up TL 8 lasers!

Wow, been a bit without a proper update. Sorry about that guys but if you missed my last post covering my current situation, my job is currently consuming a disproportional large chunk of my life so sadly this blog has taken a back seat.

And  sadly this post isn't going to be a return to form. Updates are going to be coming out at a trickle until things calm down at my job and given two more people just put in their two weeks notice... that might not be for a while =_=.

But hang in there guys, content will still be coming if at a reduced output and hopfully it won't be too long before I can have life again.

But enough with that, onto what you clicked on this post to see!

While a far cry from the tightly focused high energy laser of Ultra-Tech, laser weapons are finally  starting to take their place on the modern battle field.

However the current laser weapons being deployed work a bit differently then just less advanced versions of TL9 lasers. In fact I once had a modern laser cannon described to me as a blast furnace that produces coherent light as a byproduct.

For example they fire a single coherent beam rather then a carefully timed series of pulses. With a carefully timed series of pulses you can get a drilling effect that greatly increases the penetration power you get for a given output. With a single coherent beam, a laser is pretty much a heat ray and all that energy is dumped on the surface and needs to melt it's way into the target in a very inefficient manner making them very poor at dealing with armor. 

That's not say they can't still do some damage.
They are also less focused as well (with further reduces armor penetration). However there is a reason for this. The more focused you make a laser the more the photons want to scatter. This is fine if your target is no more then a few centimeters from the focal array as with a laser cutter but a major problem if you want to hit a target in a real combat situation. 

That's not to say that the lasers in in Ultra-Tech are unrealistic, they just are based on several advancements and tricks that will allow practical battlefield lasers to have behave more like industrial laser cutters at long range.

Advanced apatite optics, similar to whats already in your cell phones camera, can be used to boost range by focusing the beam in such a way it leaves the focal array in a disperse manner, only converging onto a tight focus when it reaches the target (basically the beam will look like a cone with the tip pointing at the target). That would help get some useful range out of a focused laser but not quite to the same level as modern lasers so this is one area that modern lasers have the advantage.

More advanced rapid discharge capacitors (power cells) will also let laser pulse their beams at a higher rate letting them still fire slightly defocused beams that still have a heavy punch without sacrificing too much range.

So all in all modern lasers have a bit better range for a given output but do to being both defocused and a coherent beam they effectively have an effective armor divisor of (0.5). The coherent effect of their beam is also best simulated as treating them as having a ROF 10 since the beam needs to linger to be really effective. Also do to how inefficient they are they require massive cooling and power supplies making them very heavy for their size.

With that said, below I cover how to modify the Blaster and Laser Design System from Pyramid 3/37 Tech and Toys II to handle designing modern TL 8 laser weapons.

Laser (TL8): Do to how unfocused TL 8 lasers are they do regular burning damage rather then tight beam burning damage (why oh why didn't they just make Beam damage it's own damage typing? >.>) with a (0.5) armor divisor. This means TL 8 lasers are very capable of setting things on fire.
There are two type of TL 8 lasers you can make.

An example of a chemical Infrared Laser. Note the large vent.
Chemical Infrared Laser: The chemical reactions that chemical lasers use to power and lase the beam have a higher energy density then most other practical power sources. The down side is that the chemical the use are dangerous and can be a major hazard if they were to spill. See Ultra-Tech pg. 114 for the dangers of using a chemical laser.

Solid State Laser: Also currently infrared only, these use electrical power to generate their beams. While they use heavier power sources, they have the advantage of being safer to use and being easier to "reload" in field since electricity is far easier to acquire in most cases then a corrective chemicals.

And this is an example of Solid State Laser: Note the lack of needing to vent deadly gases.

Focal Array
Focal array is figured as normal.

Constant G is ignored with TL 8 lasers. They are always ROF 10 which has already been factored into how their empty weight is figured.

Damage Dice
TL8 lasers have poor penetration relative to how much damage they can do, however they can still some rather nasty damage to unarmored targets. However TL 8 lasers are rather heavy for their output so so don't expect TL 8 laser rifles. A 3d+2 laser will weigh in at about 1 ton, a 5d+1 one will weigh about as much as a tank cannon, while 8d and higher will generally be to big to mount in anything smaller then a warship.

Empty Weight
Empty Weight = (D×S×3.7)3×F.

D is the dice of damage.
S is 0.5 for a super science TL 8 laser, 1 otherwise. 
for the focal array value: 0.25 for tiny, 0.5 for very small, 0.8 for small, 1 for medium, 1.25 for large, 1.6 for very large, and 2 for extremely large. Also see here for a more detailed way for figuring F.

Since TL 8 lasers are less focused then TL 9+ high energy laser they technically have greater range.

1/2D Range (yards) = D2×120×Rf.

Max Range (yards) = 1/2D×3.

D is the dice of damage.
Rf is based on the focal array: 0.1 for tiny, 0.3 for very small, 0.5 for small, 1 for medium, 2 for large, 4 for very large, and 8 for extremely large. Once again see here for a more detailed way of figuring Rf.

Powering Your Laser
If you are designing a chemical infrared laser you only have one energy source to choose from but if you are doing a solid state laser you have quite a few option. 

Modern lasers are pretty inefficient (though they are getting better). Use the below formula to determine how many kilowatts of power you need to supply to power your laser.

KiloWatts = (D×1.84)3

D is the lasers dice of damage. 

Chemical Infrared Laser Power Supply
Pound for pound, a chemical reaction powered laser is the lightest way to go. However it also carries risks.While there are several chemical laser option currently available, for simplicity's sake a oxygen iodine COIL style laser is assumed.

Chemical Laser Power Supply Weight =(Lw×Ns)/160.

Lw is how many kW you laser needs.

Ns is the desired number of shot.

The power supply cost $20 per pound. 

Batteries hold more energy then power cells do but can only discharge it at relatively low power. This means that it is impractical to power a laser off a battery on its own in most cases. A more realistic set up would be to use batteries to feed into a bank of power cells which in turn are what fires the laser.

See this post here for information on how much energy TL 8 batteries possibly hold and how quickly they can discharge.

Diesel Generator
A high output generator is currently the best and most practical way to power  a solid state laser weapons at TL 8.

Generator Weight = Lw×16.

Lw is how many kW you laser needs.

The weight of the generator includes a fuel tank holding generator weight times 0.04 gallons of fuel which is enough to run the generator at full output for 5hrs. The laser has 3,600 shots per hour.

Generator Cost = Gw×$25.

Gw is the generators weight.

Power Cells
The modern day equivalent of power cells are advanced super capacitors though they do not quite hold enough energy to energize lasers on their own (in fact TL 9 power cells aren't quite up to the task when weight limits are an important factor).  As stated under batteries it's more realistic to get enough power cells to fire the laser no more then a handful of times at most and then use a bank of batteries to recharge the power cells.

Shot Table
Weapon         TL 8 Cell  TL 9 Cell   TL 10 Cell    TL 11 Cell   TL 12 Cell  
TL 8 Laser     45             180             720                2,889           11,520

Since TL 8 laser technically fire at ROF 10, treat them as having a rapid fire generator when figuring price.

Now for a worked example.

I originally wanted to stat up a real laser weapon system like the Laser Avenger or the THEL but unfortunately there is very little hard real world date on most of these systems that I could find so instead I've stated up a fictional  weapon that's as close as I could get to the current up to date real world hummer mounted Zeus-HLONS II system as I could get with the limited data points I had.

Roma Tech Inc. MODEL (USA, 2017-)

The Mobil OrDnance Elimination Laser or MODEL is an 1.06μm IR solid stated fiber optic laser designed for eliminating IEDs, mines and other unexploded ordinances. However in theory it can also be used as an short ranged anti aircraft weapon as well as an anti-personal weapon though for PR reasons it's unlikely the rules of engagement will be allow the MODEL to be officially used in an anti-personal role any time soon.

The weapon works by firing 10 2kW laser pulses over a full second at a given target until the explosives (or fuel tanks if an unexploded rocket) inside of the target reach their cook off temperature. One of the benefits of this system is that even if the laser is not powerful enough to penetrate the targets skin, eventually the heat will still bleed through the contact area on the surface and start to cook the interior of the target (see Heat on Basic Set pg. 434 for details on how burn damage can bleed through armor).

While a modern design the MODEL is based on older but more reliable examples of solid state laser technology which while making the system somewhat heavier, it keeps cost down and makes sure the system is reliable (the system weights twice as much as normal but costs half as much as it would based on its old weight). It is mounted on a modified M1114 HMMWV (see High-Tech pg. 243) in three modules. The power supply and  cooling unit module takes up most of the vehicles flatbed with the beam generator module taking up the rest as well as the entire left hand rear passenger side which in turn is connected to the main focal array module which is based on a stabilized turret mounted to the M1114s cupola. A 16× duel mode daylight optical/thermal imager  (see High-Tech pg. 48) is mounted on the focal array for targeting. The left hand rear passenger seat is replaced with the weapons fire control station which cantain the weapons controls and a flat screen monitor which is linked to the targeting imager. The MODELs operator uses Gunner (Beams) to fire the weapon.   

The laser is powered directly by the M1114s 190hp diesel engine though do to the power draw needed the HMMWV needs to fire it will stationery. While some critics note this as a weakness, given it current use of ordnance elimination, being stationary is not a detriment and full tank of diesel gives the MODEL over 20,000 shots. 

GUNNER (BEAMS) (DX-4, or other Gunner at -4)
TL  Weapon                    Damage             Acc      Range        EWT     ROF  Shots   ST   Bulk Rcl  Cost   LC
8     Roma Inc. MODEL  2d+2(0.5) burn  18 +4   630/1,900  1,600     10       ver.      -      -10     1    $860K  1

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