Battlelasers: comparison

The are several reasons to prefer a laser blaster over other weapons. First, it uses only electric energy as an ammunition. Second, during ground combat the light beam hits targets instantly, and, because lasers have a negligible amount of recoil, they've got the best accuracy of all ranged weapons. Third, the ability of laser to vaporize its target's matter makes light beamers very efficient against any target with self-repair capabilities – like other Transformers and other mechanoids, whose frames are made from smart matter, or organics with high regenerative capabilities. Fourth, the laser itself doesn't produce loud sounds – it can be used as a silent sniper blaster. Fifth, like particle weapons, lasers can variate their power – firing either high-powered shots against heavily armored targets or lots of low-powered shots against small targets.

But disadvantages of laser weapons are serious. First, low-tech lasers produce too much heat to be efficient. Second, if the atmosphere is heterogeneous, then the light beam will deviate from its way. Even worse if there is smoke, aerosol or dust in the air or it's raining or snowing – the beam will be scattered, losing its energy. Third, battle laser's optical system is fragile and can be brattled – never use your light-beamer as an improvised bludgeon. Fourth, if you choose laser, you will have to clean its aperture from dust and dirt before any battle. Fifth, you can't fire constantly – the blaster will be overheated or will require you to change an energy cell.

Comparing with magnetic mass-accelerators, laser weapons have an advantage in lacking eroding barrels and hitting target instantly. But laser blasters have lesser effective range than coilguns and railguns and, of course, fragile. Particle weapons have better armor piercing at medium range than lasers and do not care about air conditions – but they require production of high temperature superconductors, have heavier cooling systems and their maximum range (for proton accelerators) is only two kilometers (for electron accelerators – only 400-600 meters). And, of course, a laser blaster is easier to produce than a particle blaster.

Capabilities of battle lasers defined their usage by combatants of Cybertron. Until production of a so-called third generation of particle weaponry, pulsed laser guns were the most common weapons at Cybertron. Their only "rivals" were mass-accelerators. Even later battle lasers didn't become useless – by the time of the infamous Civil War they were incredibly popular among flying Transformers and were used as anti-air and anti-missile weapons.

Battle lasers: usage

Modern laser weapons are the best choice for flyers and against flyers and missiles. Laser beams move so fast that enemy can't evade them – if you point laser's muzzle at moving target, it will be hit by pulses of monochrome light. The negligible recoil means that even a flyer-tank-hunter, armed with lots of pulsed light-beamers, can attack with pinpoint accuracy, firing all the blasters at the same moment. And, of course, if the enemy somehow attack you at close range, lasers will drill through foe's armor faster than any melee weapon.

Electrolasers, besides being used as non-lethal weapon to take down criminals, also were deployed by flyers and were nicknamed "null-blasters". Any flying Transformer, hit by artificial lightning, will imminently lose control over his/hers frame for several seconds – time, enough for the electrolaser to recharge and project another lightning. In the end, your foe will fall at planet's surface and either will be killed by such a hit or go into the stasis mod because of the very severe damage.

Anti-air and anti-missile lasers aren't used today as stationary cannons – Cybertronians, favoring mobility, developed self-purposing AA robots. Said robots look like armored four-wheeled jeeps with RADAR and laser cannon arrays, placed upon their roofs. In full power mode, lasers are fired at the enemy aircraft, which has happened to fly at the low altitude, and the low power mode is used to intercept incoming missiles. These "Hunters-Protectors" are deployed in groups of at least four robots, and their Virtual Intelligences (they lack true sentience) allow them to distinguish friends and foes (and intercept fast-moving airborne targets as well).

And there is the other type of robots, used by Cybertronians (Transformers themselves aren't robots, but mechanoids – a race of sentient machines). I talk about Blinders – small quadrocopters, armed with small laser blasters and outfitted with Virtual Intelligences. These malicious machines always move after their masters and, spotting a foe, attack them. Blinder's blaster isn't capable of piercing throw Transformer's exoskeleton (however, this robot can drill a hole in human's body) – but the robot is going after enemy's visual sensors. A group of these machines can blind several Cybertronians in seconds.

Sure, Transformers do not use their "eyes" to navigate – they have built-in RADAR and LIDAR (the LIDAR is used to scan a transport form, for example) – but blinding is very painful for them and disorientates them for seconds. In combat such disabling is deadly – which is the reason for developing Blinders. After successful attack robots generate a distinctive sound - and then their master quickly kills disabled foe, either gunning him/her down or by closing range and stabbing several times with lance, made from very hard materials as a diamond, a borazon, etc. Blinders are typically used en masse in urban combat.

Battle lasers: usage in media

Unfortunately, realistic laser weapons are rarely seen in works about Transformers' Multiverse. But let's take a look…

In G1 most beams, fired by Autobots and Decepticons at each other, aren't laser pulses, but particle bolts. However, it sometimes mentioned in characters' bio that their weapon of choice is laser or electrolaser (a lightning gun is a synonym of electrolaser).

In Beast Wars, Dinobot replaced before series his standard visual sensors with visual sensors, possessing built-in green laser. In cartoon's sequel, Beast Machines, Botanica was armed with two (completely overpowered) electrolasers.

In Bayverse, unfortunately, laser weapons aren't popular. While movies' creators did a good job making Transformers' design realistic, for some weird reason they didn't give Cybertronians probably the most realistic energy weapons – lasers, instead giving them slugthrowers (in most cases, not even magnetic mass-accelerators!).

In Animated, laser blasters were used by Starcream and his squad of clones. These beamers project purple pulses (approximately 400-420 nanometers). Any battle, where Starscream fought, shows that if your enemy have a blaster, while you carry only a melee weapon, you will not win skirmish without a ruse or comrades.

In Aligned, several models of battle lasers exist. In War of Cybertron you can use two blasters – an Energon Pistol and a Null Ray. Actually, the E-Pistol isn't a pistol – it's a laser carabine, capable of projecting aquamarine beam and taking down most enemies in two shots. As its name says, it uses a tank, filled with a liquid energon, as a part of its quantum generator. The Null-Ray is a heavy laser cannon with a very strange design – it doesn't have a large aperture, but has a long and thin barrel. It fires orange beam, powerful enough to kill Transformers in a single shot (except Cybertronians who have an additional armor).

Two other models were used in Transformers: Prime cartoon. Megatron, when he replaced his right manipulator with looted one. A laser cannon, installed into looted manipulator, was capabale of drilling a large hole in mechanoid's frame (unfortunately for Dreadwing). But, for some weird reason, Megatron never used that built-in weapon against Cybertronians in battle (fortunately for Autobots!). The other model of laser blaster was built into Predaking's left manipulator and wasn't his primary weapon. That fact proves that predacons lack powerful weapons and Shockwave, being a genius scientist, wasn't a good weapons designer or a military engineer. Sure, you created a flying supersoldier, then why not to give him a typical flyer's equipment - a lascannon and self-guiding missiles? To put shortly, scenarists, thinking about predacons as of mythical creatures, didn't try to make them efficient.

Battle lasers: protection

Fortunately, it doesn't require high technologies to develop a protection against lasers – even a cloud, created by smoke grenade, will cause coherent beam to scatter and lose most of its energy. Against Blinders the best defense is an offense – you should get your own retinue of attack drones, programmed to destroy enemy quadrocopters – or such a retinue can be assigned to your squad (more likely). Don't also forget that Blinders lack heavy armor – they can be destroyed in a few shots.

But if your enemies have got lots of guns – and not only laser blasters – an additional armor should be used. Sure, it is heavy and slows you down (especially during transformation sequences) – but it is still a useful protection. And the best choice is a nano-fibrous composite armor, based on borazon, diamondoids, carbon nanotubes and so on. These materials protect from all kinds of damage, but can be only produced by nanotechnologies (no handmade armor for you!). Even better piece of equipment is a smart nano-fibrous composite armor – it doesn't slow your transformation, copies your frame's form and is capable of limited self-repair. The typical color of the additional armor is grey.