A battleship is not a small "bobbing target". It is moving up and down, but the amount of movement in the up and down direction isn't as great, relative to the size of the target. And yes large marine guns have been able to accurately hit other large ships for over 75 years. When the CEP (circular error probabilty) gets smaller than the target, you get a hit. What these guys are demonstrating is a CEP of a few inches so that they can hit a small target in a specific spot
with a beam of energy and that is much more difficult than just hitting a battleship somewhere.
Originally Posted by ScotL
You sir, are very wrong. After years working with many types of industrial lasers, I can assure you, it is indeed possible. It is not so much the power, but the optics of the device.
Sorry, I was not aware that industrial lasers could do that. The industrial lasers that I am familar with can burn a small hole in a target at a very specific distance. To burn an area the size of a softball (or larger) at a distance of two miles or more is a lot more power and optical capability than I am familiar with. We regularly burn through superalloys, but it takes multiple shots to burn a .020 inch diameter hole through .050 inches of material. To burn a much bigger hole through an outboard motor cover and light it off seems to me to be a lot of energy. The size of the hole you burn is directly related to the power applied to the target. Burning a pinhole or cutting metal is very different than burning a big area that is thousands of times larger. I don't know of any industrial lasers that that can burn that big a hole in a target. In some literature Northrup Grumman is building a 100kw laser, which is a lot more power than any industrial laser I've ever seen or heard of.