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Boeing Successfully Tested Laser Cannon

Boeing announced yesterday that it successfully defeated a ground target using its Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, marking the ship's first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement. If the news sounds like something out of science-fiction, think again: Boeing has actually mounted a fully-loaded laser cannon on an airplane. This means that the military could potentially have access to a weapon that can annihilate the enemy without the collateral damage caused by rockets and bombs.

"During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its high-power chemical laser through its beam control system while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M," Boeing announced in this press release. "The beam control system acquired the ground target -- an unoccupied stationary vehicle -- and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL's battle management system. The laser beam's energy defeated the vehicle."

Boeing said that the ATL team plans to conduct additional tests to demonstrate the weapon's capabilities for the military, showing off its destructive vaporizing power for conduct missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems' Directed Energy Systems unit, said that the weapon performed extremely well during the test, and that its three main components--the high-energy chemical laser, beam control system and battle manager--worked correctly in unison to provide an effective laser beam.

  • ubernoobie
    wait, defeated as in melted or blown up?
    Reply
  • JasonAkkerman
    Quick, I'm going to need a lot of foil and popcorn.
    Reply
  • Zagen30
    Cool. I guess a lack of collateral damage is a good thing.
    Reply
  • joeman42
    ubernoobiewait, defeated as in melted or blown up?Dried the water after it came out of the car wash.
    Reply
  • grieve
    Question...
    How do you "guide" a laser? Don't you aim it... I'm under the impression a laser would be awfully quick, perhaps the speed of... i dunno, light?

    ""The beam control system acquired the ground target -- an unoccupied stationary vehicle -- and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL's battle management system.""
    Reply
  • Vaporized the target, dumbass.
    Reply
  • grieve
    Once you shoot a laser... It's gone.. there is no guiding a beam of light.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    Looks nice but you need to consider all the other details like power source, weight, heat dissipation, and rate of fire. It's a government-funded project so cost doesn't really matter (the money comes from taxpayers and nobody cares what they think).
    Reply
  • grieve
    I think misfires or inaccurate shots would be very bad...

    dont touch the frickin laser scott!

    Reply
  • "Collateral Damage"

    That means killing innocent civilians, for those that haven't served in the military. However, since 2001, most of our "collateral damage" was intentional, and/or we should've never been shooting at it in the first place. We could also GTFO of Afghanistan and Iraq right now, for an incredible 100% reduction in collateral damage. US defense contractors caring about collateral damage, laugable at best... Blackwater's bonus structure is probably based on collateral damage.
    Reply