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While politicians are more than willing to rattle their economic sabres at China, we suspect, after China flaunted a range of high-tech weaponry at the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Dubai, we suspect Washington will slow its roll a little with any kinetic warmongery...
Let's start with lasers, says Popular Science's Jeffrey Lin and P.W.Singer...
Poly Technologies showed off The Silent Hunter, one of the world's most powerful laser weapons. It claims an output of at least 50-70 kilowatts, which would make it more powerful than the 33-kilowatt laser weapon systems (LaWS) currently deployed on the USS Ponce. The laser is probably based on a smaller anti-drone laser, the Low Altitude Guard. That's enough to knock out automobiles by burning out their engines from over a mile away, as the 30-kilowatt Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser demonstrated in 2015. The Silent Hunter uses fibre optic lasers (fibre optics doped with rare earth minerals), which provide weight savings over chemical lasers through increasing optical gain by kilometers of coiled fibre optics (as opposed to bulky chemical lasers). The Silent Hunter is likely to be scaled up and equipped with radars to complement its optical/infrared tracking system, making it a capable close range defense system against enemy missiles, artillery, drones and aircraft.
The Silent Hunter laser is powerful enough to cut through light vehicle armor at up to a kilometer away, making you wonder if China already has more powerful laser weapons only for domestic use.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) recently came out with report that China is "near parity" with western nations in terms of indigenous defense technology. As we can see from IDEX 2017, that is playing out in fields that range from tanks to lasers. And as the Chinese defense industry innovates more, it will likely grab an even bigger share of international arms sales.