Toward the middle of the 80s of the 20th century, a rather unusual type of protective weapon appeared in the Soviet Union - a laser pistol with pyrotechnic cartridges called TP-82. It was intended for astronauts.
The creation of a fiber laser device was carried out jointly by military rocket scientists. The fantastic weapon received three varieties, but its serial production never took place.
Star Wars Weapons
Military designers solved the main task - to create a compact model of weapons to disable hostile optical systems. Initially, at the stage of project preparation, engineers took as a basis a very small amount of radiation energy - about 1 - 10 Joules. That was enough. The "space" pistol had a caliber of 10 ml, its weight differed little from the standard samples of the military arsenal. The length of the laser pistol was about 18 cm, the shooting was carried out in a semi-automatic mode, 8 special capsules were placed in the store. The laser beam reached a target within 20 meters.
As noted by the researchers who wrote about this unusual military space model, the weapon should not have a damaging effect - its main purpose was the protective functions and destruction of the enemy's optical systems, the possible blindness of the enemy. In order for the compact novelty of Soviet developers to work, it needed to provide an active medium, a resonator, and an optical source. The main design feature of the laser pistol was its cartridges. These were 8 pyrotechnic flash lamps, each of which visually represented a small container with oxygen, zirconium foil and metal salts.
How it works
The charging mechanism was powered by an electric mini-spark. To obtain it, the device was equipped with a small battery. In a negligible time, a huge temperature of more than 4700 ° C was created, which later turned into a laser beam. Shooting with cartridges with a diameter of 1 cm specially designed for the pistol of astronauts (shaped like flasks) was carried out in the same way as with conventional weapons: during a shot, the cartridge was thrown out in automatic mode, and another casing lamp stood in its place.
TP-82 with pyrotechnic cartridges became the basis for the development of a laser pistol with a standard drum magazine that held 6 rounds, and a single-shot ladies' revolver. The designers also talked about a possible modification of the device from a combat model to a medical device.
All trial tests of new weapons were carried out in manual mode. After the end of the experimental research, it was supposed to establish the serial production of special lamp-holders, however, the conversion processes of the Soviet defense industry of that period did not allow the project to be completed. The production line was closed. Today, a unique Soviet innovation of that era - a laser revolver with an analogue of cartridges - was recognized by pyrotechnic lamps as a valid example of advanced engineering developments. Among a number of other exhibits, a pistol for astronauts is now in the museum of the military academy (city of Serpukhov).
The Topic of Article: Soviet laser cannon specially for cosmonauts.