Humanosity says…It looks like all us sci-fi fans are going to have to wait a little bit longer before we see particle beam weapons in action like Star Wars! On a serious note, it also shows how close we are to that future as laser weapons are just around the corner.
Mike Griffin, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at the US Department of Defense is quoted as saying:
“We are deferring work on neutral particle beams, indefinitely. It’s just not near-term enough.” Griffin emphasized however that the Pentagon was still forging ahead with research into lasers and microwave weapons, for use by ground forces, air forces, and in space.”
What Are Neutral Particle Beam Weapons?
Particle beam weapons, so common in sci-fi have been on the agenda since Ronald Reagan announced the Star wars initiative back in the 1980s.
According to Popular Mechanics
Neutral particle beams are basically “death rays” from science fiction. NPBs involve accelerating streams of atomic or subatomic particles to nearly light speed and shooting them downrange at a target. Once the particles collide with the target, they began to unravel it at the atomic and molecular level, breaking the bonds that create its shape. At a visual level, it would appear that the target is melting. The kinetic energy transferred from the particles to the target also heats it up, contributing to the melting of the target material.
Until then sci-fi fans will have to make do with a range of other directed energy weapons like lasers. According to Military Aerospace laser weapons for all branches are undergoing tests and are seen as the best defence against the latest hypersonic missiles. Take a look at the video at the top to see a laser weapon being tested.