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Boeing progresses forward with the development of its airborne laser program

Boeing is working on a devastating new weapon which could strike fear into the eyes of all American enemies. The company is progressing at a rapid pace on its 12,000-pound airborne laser.

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) was installed into a C-130H gunship and Boeing is on track to begin in-flight tests of the weapon next year. Ground targets will be neutralized via the ATL which is incorporated into a rotating turret on the C-130H's belly.

The ATL is seen as a precise, high-power weapon that will result in less civilian causalities on the battlefield. Due to the nature of the laser being used, targets can be destroyed or disabled with extremely low levels of collateral damage. Boeing claims that the ATL is thus capable of being used on traditional battlefields or in more treacherous urban fighting.

"The installation of the high-energy laser shows that the ATL program continues to make tremendous progress toward giving the warfighter a speed-of-light, precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage," said Boeing Missile Defense Systems VP and GM Scott Fancher. "Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon."

The ATL was developed in conjunction with Boeing’s Airborne Laser (ABL) which is fitted to a 747-400F freighter. While the ATL is aimed at destroying ground targets, the ABL is destined to fire upon ballistic missiles.

Boeing's ABL was deemed ready for flight testing in late October 2006 and successfully fired its targeting lasers at an airborne target on March 15, 2007. Boeing hopes to fire its high-energy laser at a ballistic missile in 2009.

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By NullSubroutine on 12/13/2007 8:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
Is this a chemical reaction limited fire laser? I have seen some info around before showing high-itensity 'lasers' firing from chemically induced reactions (remember seeing picture of barrels in a plane). Is this one of those chemically created lasers or is this generated from a power source?

If it is from a power source I would think that the military plans to build oribal power plants that could wireless send power would make alot of sense as they would not need to go in for more 'ammo'.

However if they are using chemcially induced lasers I would think that would be a pain to reload, manage, and dispose of.

RE: So....
By Brandon Hill on 12/13/2007 8:59:06 PM , Rating: 3
Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL)

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/13/2007 9:12:58 PM , Rating: 5
This sort of accomplishment makes me proud to be an American. From the Unmanned Predators, to the masters of Air Combat (F-22), now... as if the Spooky gunships weren't bad assed enough already, were going to mount lasers on them. The U.S. Military wasn't kidding when they said they wanted Full Spectrum Dominance.

RE: So....
By Fenixgoon on 12/13/2007 9:42:46 PM , Rating: 5
...when they said they wanted Full Spectrum Dominance

from visible to infrared and ultraviolet!!

...yes, i just made a joke about the radiation spectrum

RE: So....
By Spartan Niner on 12/13/2007 10:56:56 PM , Rating: 1
I hear them microwaves make you feel all tingly like... and then the BURNING, ah the BURNING!

RE: So....
By Ajax9000 on 12/16/2007 6:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
from visible to infrared and ultraviolet!!
no no no, it is from the ultraviolent to the infradead

This is the spectrum of colours Agrajag painted his Cathedral of Hate in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.

RE: So....
By Griswold on 12/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: So....
By P4blo on 12/14/2007 4:43:17 AM , Rating: 5
I give it 1 year of service before we get a YouTube video of some Gunship pilot lighting the batallion's 'going home' BBQ because someone forgot the firelighters.

RE: So....
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 8:09:53 AM , Rating: 5
Damn straight. Today a 12,000 pound laser on a AC-130 gunship, tomorrow we have them in our fighter jets instead of machine guns. End goal, laser rifles instead of M16s.

American military technology rules.

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 8:11:14 AM , Rating: 5
I see laser based tanks and naval ships in the near future, they are also looking at rail guns too. Ah, next generation of military advancements is upon us, should be an interesting 20-30 years while all this rolls out.

RE: So....
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 8:23:05 AM , Rating: 2
Command & Conquer technology doesn't seem too far off.

RE: So....
By therealnickdanger on 12/14/2007 11:36:25 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, we've got to be prepared for the Nod incursion.

RE: So....
By therealnickdanger on 12/14/2007 11:39:58 AM , Rating: 4
I also want to say that any future laser weapons need to make that "pew pew" sound when fired. Silent operation is a great tactical feature, but not very glamorous. While they weren't laser rifles exactly, the guns used by the Necromongers in Chronicles of Riddick made a seriously badass sound...

RE: So....
By Ringold on 12/14/2007 3:06:53 PM , Rating: 3
I wish Vin Diesel would stick to movies like that.. Hopefully he'll realize that he excels at being a bad-ass, preferably one that kills large volumes of people, and not a baby sitter.

RE: So....
By andrewsdw on 12/14/2007 2:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
Hehe...beat me to it. Isn't it funny how in C&C Generals it was the Americans who had the tactical laser special weapon and our tanks fired lasers.

I wonder if Val Kilmer helped develop this laser. He's a "Real Genius"!

RE: So....
By DeepBlue1975 on 12/14/2007 2:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
I also see burglars with hand held laser weapons ala star trek in a maybe not so distant future.
If the military will have that, people will get it on the black market...

Good news is, murderers will be more silent, won't produce environmentally aggressive powder smoke, and "homicide places" will be cleaner because there will be no left bullet rests on the ground, and victims will bleed much less.

I'd rather be murdered by a laser gun than by an anachronistic, obsolete fire gun throwing projectiles at comparatively turtle speeds.

RE: So....
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 5:49:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather be murdered by a laser gun than by an anachronistic, obsolete fire gun throwing projectiles at comparatively turtle speeds.

If you practice your 2nd Amendment rights, you'll likely kill your intruder/attacker first.

Funny how all the states who failed the 2006 Brady Study, which rates states based on their gun control(or lack thereof) laws, all had lower murder rates between 2005 and 2006 while most of the states that excelled had their murder rates go up for the same time frame.

RE: So....
By winterspan on 12/16/2007 6:37:09 PM , Rating: 1
Quit turning everything into a stupid political argument...

RE: So....
By spluurfg on 12/19/2007 6:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
I am guessing that murder rates and gun controls both might also be correlated with high population density.

Rather than spell it out directly, think about how as ice cream sales increase, so does the number of incidents of drowning.

I'll buy your statistics when a real statistician/econometrics analyst does a study.

RE: So....
By baseball43v3r on 12/20/2007 11:18:31 AM , Rating: 1
54.7% of all statistics are made up.

RE: So....
By Staples on 12/14/2007 10:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how these things will stack up against reflective surfaces, lets say a mirror. These things may be easily defeated. Lets not get carried away. Artilary still will be the king of the battlefield.

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:18:30 AM , Rating: 3
Your vastly overstating the concept of a mirror. Easily defeated? No. Were not talking about a flash light, were talking about a megawatt class laser.

RE: So....
By Misty Dingos on 12/14/2007 10:20:12 AM , Rating: 2
Artillery may be the king of the battlefield now but it is quickly be supplanted by precision ordnance delivered by UAVs and manned aircraft.

Also these lasers are not nearly as susceptible to shiny surfaces as you would think. Plus it would be difficult to hide from the gunship when you are the shinyest thing out there.

Another offshoot of this laser technology is a laser point defense weapon for installations. Yes it's a laser to destroy incoming artillery rounds.

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:24:54 AM , Rating: 2
I've read about a small scale one they mounted on a Hum-V that does just that. Interesting indeed, I can bet you that Israel would be first in line to get them too. Stick them on the border to shoot down the damn insurgent rockets.

RE: So....
By cleco on 12/19/2007 12:15:35 PM , Rating: 2
Its HMMWV :P High Mobility Multi purpose Wheeled Vehicle. Though those are going to get replaced with MRAT or w/e that badass is called. We called them Cougars.

RE: So....
By spluurfg on 12/20/2007 8:51:55 AM , Rating: 2

Joint US-Israeli project. Not a mobile yet, though, but definitely a proof of concept.

RE: So....
By Polynikes on 12/14/2007 1:07:26 PM , Rating: 2
Don't get me wrong, lasers are awesome, but UAVs can be shot down. Arty, miles away, is generally safe from attack, or at least a lot more safe than a UAV. That, in my mind, makes it more dependable. Arty and mortars also have another advantage, they're not direct-fire weapons, so you can lob them over obstacles to hit your target. Direct line of sight is not needed. Although I'm sure future battlefields will be rife with lasers, they won't be the end-all be-all. Old tech, just like having bodies on the ground, will always have its place, to some degree.

RE: So....
By therealnickdanger on 12/14/2007 1:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
Artillery and mortars will likely all be switched over to rail kinetics, while lasers take over for infantry and aeronautics. Heat-seekers and other conventional guided missiles/bombs will have their place for a long while to come, I'm sure. Laser weapons will eventually lead to anti-laser defenses, so there will have to be constant innovation and multiple options.

RE: So....
By 1078feba on 12/14/2007 4:59:23 PM , Rating: 2
Problem with indirect fire is that it can be tracked via radar and it's origin triangulated, and you have to deconflict the airspace as well. Not to mention that range becomes a very real problem. Indirect fire works just fine right now, but things get hairy on the Korean Peninsula and/or other places in the world where we would be up against superior numbers, lasers and rail weps could really tilt the ground in our favor.

What I really want are frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their foreheads.

RE: So....
By jonmcc33 on 12/20/2007 7:58:33 AM , Rating: 1
Yes it does. Too bad we don't use it for the right reasons. Invading a country for oil isn't a valid reason to advance weapon technology.

RE: So....
By Relion on 12/14/07, Rating: 0
RE: So....
By blaster5k on 12/14/2007 9:56:46 AM , Rating: 2
Take that back or we'll blast you with laser beams. muhahaha.

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
Not the weapon in and of itself, the technology to do it. 40 years ago people would have told you it was science fiction, now we have the technology.

RE: So....
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 10:25:09 AM , Rating: 2
Well if by a correct education you mean going to liberal arts college, sitting around smoking pot, and singing in circles then yes he probably didn't have a correct education.

Being proud of ones country's accomplishments (technological or otherwise) is nothing to be ashamed of nor an indication of ignorance.

RE: So....
By Ringold on 12/14/2007 3:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well if by a correct education you mean going to liberal arts college, sitting around smoking pot, and singing in circles then yes he probably didn't have a correct education.

Being proud of ones country's accomplishments (technological or otherwise) is nothing to be ashamed of nor an indication of ignorance.

Get with the times, you're supposed to hate America! :P

I couldn't of said it better.

RE: So....
By winterspan on 12/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: So....
By Hawkido on 12/14/2007 5:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
and singing in circles

LOL! Did you just call touching eacher other's PeePees "Singing?

RE: So....
By winterspan on 12/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: So....
By Denigrate on 12/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: So....
By therealnickdanger on 12/14/2007 1:08:04 PM , Rating: 3
You know what, I'm proud of both the technology we invented/innovated to do this as well as the weapons themselves. America FTW. Every technology can lead to further advancement in other fields, the benefits (or detriments) of which can not always be seen right away. These weapons help kill bad guys and save innocent lives. I do believe that certain actions deserve a lethal response - why not make that response as efficient and effective as possible?

If an automated turret on a Predator can one day "laser snipe" 5 bomb-carrying terrorists in a crowd of 100 innocents, isn't that worth something? If in one stroke, we can nullify the ballistic missile capabilities of any country without taking one single life, isn't that something to be proud of?

If given a choice between spending $500 billion on technology like this or $500 billion on recovery costs involved with treating injured and clearing debris from chemical or nuclear attacks, I'll pick the laser.

RE: So....
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 1:17:44 PM , Rating: 1
Yes but we're apparently a bad country for wanting to make ICBM's an obsolete weapon to use against us. They can suck it as far as I'm concerned. We're a sovereign nation that has the right to develop any technology that makes life safer for its citizens while still maintaining a tactical offensive advantage over others.

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 1:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
Objective of the American Military is to be able to protect american interests anywhere on the globe. It's also their objective to be able to kick ass anywhere on the globe. People complain about American's getting involved all over the world, but realistically, we have the only military that CAN get involved around the globe. Power Projection (Ability to get there, and stay there, and all the logistics involved in supplying them consistently) is still something only the USA can do. China may have a large army (Mostly infantry, solution there is tons of clusterbombs) but they have zero ability to project power around the globe. No massive air logistics, a laughable navy, driving trucks will only get you so far too since trucks are easy to search and destroy with aircraft and UAV's.

RE: So....
By calyth on 12/14/2007 5:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't one of their native-designed (read: non-Soviet) subs pop the hatch and waved hello at firing range of the Kitty Hawk, despite its 688/Seawolf/Virginia class escorts?

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/16/2007 6:20:38 PM , Rating: 3
Yes. It would also be a poor assumption to think we didn't know it was there either. Problem is the U.S. won't admit it because that would give the chinese intel.

RE: So....
By 91TTZ on 12/15/2007 12:13:19 PM , Rating: 1
Wow...if weapons is what makes you proud of being "american" my guess is you just didn't have a correct education.

Back when I went to school, they used to teach us that proper nouns are capitalized.

RE: So....
By NullSubroutine on 12/13/2007 10:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
read those wikipedia entries COIL does not seem like it would work very good against any type of ground targets if it apparently has trouble damaging some ICBMs.

from what I read it doesnt disentergrate or blow up the missiles it heats up its structure so it falls appart in flight...

this does not sound like a 'killer' laser for ground based targets, at least from the way they wrote those wikipedia entries

RE: So....
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 8:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
Consider it this way, on infantry this is easy. You basically super heat their internal organs cooking them instantly. Works the same way on vehicles, cook the crew inside, and it's electronics instantly disabling the vehicle and annihilating it's crew.

Unless Boeing has figured out how to make it higher power in a burst type setting, causing even more damage. Considering the COIL entries on wikipedia are based on the 2004 demonstration of it shooting down a missile, I find it entirely possible that in 3 years they made necessary changes to make this possible.

Long and the short is that Boeing would not be doing this, and the Military would not be investing in this, if it was a wild goose chase. There is obviously some real benefit to it and they are persuing it.

RE: So....
By Misty Dingos on 12/14/2007 8:28:35 AM , Rating: 3
The concept of knocking down an ICBM at over 100 miles and burning a hole in a terrorists truck at 3 miles is the difference you are looking at. The AC-130 is often within a few thousand feet of its targets.

Being so close to the target makes it much eaiser to destroy or kill what or who the laser is pointed at.

RE: So....
By logaldinho on 12/14/2007 1:08:50 PM , Rating: 3
Needless to say, I was a little despondent about the meltdown. But then, in the midst of my preparation for hara-kiri, it came to me: it is possible to synthesize excited bromide in an argon matrix. Yes, its an excimer, frozen in its excited state.

Less collateral damage
By Griswold on 12/14/2007 2:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
Until the spectre/spooky gets shot down while providing fire support over urban areas - as seen in iraq.

Btw, dont you mean AC-130H?

RE: Less collateral damage
By luhar49 on 12/14/2007 3:02:05 AM , Rating: 2
I believe less collateral damage would be the driving force behind development of such a weapon. Not because its cool and sci-fi sounding.

It would be cheaper to do more damage with a conventional weapon, just that it gives you lesser control over area of effect.

I marvel at the technological advances made in Amercia, a lot of which are good for entire human race. But all those who feel "proud to be American" because of such inventions, just sound pretty arrogant. As a non-American, I would see you as someone proud of your contry because it is inventing cooler ways of killing others. Such arrogance wont win you any popularity contests or allow you to end conflicts by peaceful means. It might even breed the idea that America loves going to war because it needs to "field test" its new weapons and justify its massive defence budget.

RE: Less collateral damage
By kyleb2112 on 12/14/2007 4:06:18 AM , Rating: 3
Your freedom required Americans to "kill others" and still ultimately does. And it's a sad commentary on the state of the world that I don't even have to know what country you're from for that to be true. This weapon was designed to prevent killing the wrong people, and that's a noble thing.

RE: Less collateral damage
By Malebolgia on 12/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: Less collateral damage
By rdeegvainl on 12/14/2007 7:21:25 AM , Rating: 5
I guess that would work, if they stopped killing each other for the medicine we do donate. Oh and making precision weapons is much better that dropping bombs all over the place.

RE: Less collateral damage
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 8:16:18 AM , Rating: 5
So its our job to not spend money on military technology so we can give handouts to the rest of the world? People will suffer regardless of how much we do. The US is the world's largest donor of foreign aid.

And yes, its noble to kill those who wish to bring harm to the innocent. Just as its noble to try and prevent the deaths of the innocent while killing those who want to hurt them.

If you live in the US, please leave. Since you're free to. A freedom given to you by our military.

RE: Less collateral damage
By nayy on 12/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: Less collateral damage
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:23:13 AM , Rating: 2
In general a war with China would cause us to lose more than we gain, likewise the same goes for China going to war with us. That is why, while we disagree on many things, we aren't going to kill each other. No net gain.

RE: Less collateral damage
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 10:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
while we disagree on many things, we aren't going to kill each other

Yet. There eventually will be a war with China.

And yes, we haven't attacked China largely because it would be a world war.

RE: Less collateral damage
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:37:09 AM , Rating: 2
Strong possibility, but not sure how it's going to be played out just yet. Might be a space based war.

RE: Less collateral damage
By straycat74 on 12/14/2007 8:29:26 AM , Rating: 2
He said to prevent killing the wrong people. I'm sure you didn't change his words intentionally.

RE: Less collateral damage
By rushfan2006 on 12/14/2007 11:27:39 AM , Rating: 5
Typical. That's what Malebolgia's reply is to such an issue...typical.

No one here (unless it was posted after my post) is saying killing people or even war is a wonderful thing that we, as Americans, enjoy.

I'm sure many folks who frequent these boards do have a heart and compassion for those less fortunate in the world - like your example of Children in Africa. I myself, have contributed for several years now to various charities for helping less needy children - as I can afford it. I don't ask for credit for that - its just something I think is right to do as a fellow human being.

This all said, don't start this "Americans are bloodthirsty war monger" guilt trip spin here. Name me a single country - just one mind you, that has not shed blood either directly or through an alliance with another country. Name one - you can't, because such a country doesn't exist. All nations on this Earth has at least some history of war, conflict and violence. Some have much more than others of course.

A country has the right, in fact I'd say a country has an obligation to defend itself and its people.

War is harsh, is cruel, is nasty and cold. But you know what - war is reality. Being a pacifist nation , world peace, no violence, no conflict - those are truly wonderful dreams - but it is not reality and sad to say never will be so long as even just two humans walk this earth.

This laser weapon is developed to be more precise to greatly lessen collatteral damage, and yet you and those like you dare to say Americans are the war mongers? In contrast - such weapon in my view shows that a country has deep concern for who it hurts or kills in the way of innocents.

Yes, indeed the one with the delusion is you.

Tell me examples of these Middle Eastern countries and such terrorist states around the globe , show me their concern for killing innocents? Show me examples of how they want to reduce collateral damage?

Please those countries don't give a rat's ass who gets kill in their battles or strikes....YOU are there with your family and you get wiped out -- its as worrisome as a rainy day on their minds, too bad. Senior citizens, disabled persons, kids - any of them dying bothers these countries as much as what to decide on for dinner.

So spare us all your "America the blood thirsty" assumptions and ridicules.

RE: Less collateral damage
By Malebolgia on 12/15/2007 7:04:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, yes, always the same words if someone try to say something different and out of the "wow, what a cool weapon!" replies.
First of all, I am italian and I know well our recent story of violence and dictatorship (sorry if my english is not perfect). I have nothing against USA, I have friends there, but I simply cannot agree with the aggressive foreign politics of Bush's administration.
So don't feel so targeted about my words. I'd say exactly the same about Russia or China, but who is the actual prominent country who is leading us to the Third World War? USA.
Or you really think that they started the war in Iraq because they had massive destruction weapons? This have been largely denied. War was made for profit and for testing these new weapons (like microwaves weapons).
And yes, I am a weird non-violent and I believe one day we'd live in a pacific world.
Said this, please next time be more careful when arguing with someone you don't know.

RE: Less collateral damage
By Malebolgia on 12/15/2007 7:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
And, be more respectful.
"Typical" is definitely your arrogant and predictable reply, and "delusional" is you lack of establishing a constructive discussion.
I think also that you'd stop giving money to help african children, if you agree with the development of weapons that "could" kill them more precisely.

p.s: actually I made a mistake writing "killing the wrong people", sorry. I meant something like "killing the right people".

RE: Less collateral damage
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 8:03:22 AM , Rating: 5
People will always fight. It's in human nature to have conflicts. Countries that are too apathetic to show teeth to would be enemies will end up being conquered. It has been this way since the dawn of time. The only time there is peace is while everyone is recovering and rearming.

We in the USA build these weapons because it provides two purposes. One, we have greater control over the battlefield, allowing us to take out our enemies even when they use the cowardly tactic of fighting next to civilians. It also shows everyone in the world that we are NOT to be taken lightly. There is a serious motivation to do something when someone holds a gun to your head. This is no different. People want peace talks, that's only because peace talks give them more benefit than simply conquering and invading. Once it becomes far more beneficial to invade the guy next door, they will do it.

The only way you will get world peace, or even close to it, is if we go to war with an Alien race. Then we wouldn't be in constant planetary conflicts, we would be in constant interstellar conflicts. Deal with it, humans fight, that's how it works. Look no further than nature on this planet, we didn't get to the top of the food chain by talking.

Development of weapons is necessary if you want to be able to sit here and denounce weapons of war because it's not (peaceful). More than likely whichever country your from is under the U.S. arm of protection. If your country was ever invaded of faced an imminent threat, you would be thanking god that the U.S. Military would be standing right there to hit back, making the prospect of anyone invading your country very low. It wouldn't be worth it when America would swoop right in and annihilate them.

Case in point. War, and Weapons are a reality and will always exist both as a deterrant, and as lethal force to be used against those crazy enough to pick a fight.

RE: Less collateral damage
By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 8:21:40 AM , Rating: 2
The Force is strong with this one.

Now get me some cocoa.

RE: Less collateral damage
By luhar49 on 12/14/07, Rating: -1
RE: Less collateral damage
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:16:42 AM , Rating: 3
I am not sure how old you are, but war is certainly a glorified thing to you. You probably think that after someone dies, they just respawn.

Incorrect. Someone dies, they die end of debate. I also think its unrealistic to not fight for what you believe to be right. If it's important (America and the freedoms we enjoy) then people will find it worth fighting for, and find it worth dieing for. In general the U.S. does not pick a fight, as much as we get involved in one that is being stirred up. 9/11 led to Afganistan, they picked a fight with us, and we responded. Iraq was Saddam Hussein playing games with the last 5 U.S. Presidents, and it was decided he needed to be taken care of. (On that same logic, sometimes I wonder how many times they have considered taking out Fidel Castro, hes been a thorn in the side of the last like 11+ presidents)

Only thing I objected to was that as soon as you read this news you took out your American flag and started parading on the road. :-)

Nothing wrong with having some pride in my country, and waving technological advancements for all to see. This week its a super laser, next week a new moon lander. It's all in perspective.

This trend should continue as standard of living gets better and people get more educated. Then the risk of loosing what they have will be a big deterrant from starting a war.

The problem is becoming less and less with whole countries. Wars from the past where it was one country against another will largely die down, I agree. Wars will still be faught in the same style that we see Russia having to deal with, bands of "freedom fighters" or just large groups of renegades standing behind someone who has questionable mental stability trying to stir shit up. I guess you could refer to them as "conflicts" rather than "wars" since the number of involved people will be smaller.

As for picking fights...I dont think any country has picked a fight with US directly since Pearl Harbour. US has chosen which war it fancies, picked a side and put on a grand show of their latest arsenal.

Country, no. Rulers or Nutcases, yes. Saddam, Osama, Chavez, Castro, etc... If they cause enough problems and cause enough headaches, sooner or later someone will get tired of it and do something about it. Russia is dealing with similiar problems with groups that formed after the fall of the USSR. India has to deal with Pakistani insurgents. Pakistan dealing with Muslim Extremeist Insurgents. Israel having to deal with a couple of neighbors that don't like them.

It really just depends on how you classify a war. I find it a "war" anytime we have to shift resources to deal with a continuing problem that can't be solved in one quick show of force. Maybe my definition is just more broad than yours.

RE: Less collateral damage
By Hawkido on 12/14/2007 5:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
Such arrogance wont win you any popularity contests

I suggest you read the wistories of the countries wiped out by all the wars in the past...

Now what did they have to say after every last man, woman, and child was killed? Guess it seems you can win a popularity contest through military prowess.

or allow you to end conflicts by peaceful means

Ever hear of the "Cold War"? (YUP)
What battle concluded it? (None)
What tactic wiped out the Soviet Communists? (Nuclear Arms Race)

Well, it appears you can end a GLOBAL CONFLICT peacefully, as well.

I suggest you go back to your "Touch me there, Teacher" school and as for your tuition back.

RE: Less collateral damage
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 8:20:55 AM , Rating: 2
No, for the demonstrations it looks like they are using a regular C-130H Hercules transport. It's probably easier to modify one of the many C-130's than it is to take one of our few AC-130's out of combat and in for testing. Without a doubt this will be incorporated on AC-130's in the future, but for right now we have so few that taking one out of service for testing isn't a good idea.

By mellondust on 12/13/2007 11:02:05 PM , Rating: 1
Seems really cool, but how does it really work? Does it melt a hole in whatever it is fired at, fry circuits, or can it go through buildings and dirt like a bomb? I am sure it doesn't blow stuff up like in the movies. I have worked with industrial lasers that cut stuff out of thick metal and they are so accurate in cutting it does not damage the side of the metal. You would need to know exactly where the target was to take it out which would seem difficult in an urban environment. Also, if it can just disable or melt a hole in something, I could see how a regular bomb could be more useful in a lot of situations on the ground.

By timmiser on 12/13/2007 11:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering the same thing. Specifically, does it have a mortal effect on humans?

By johnsonx on 12/14/2007 1:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
does it have a mortal effect on humans?

Only if you need the part(s) that it burns away.

By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 8:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
Based on the 2004 data we have (which is probably completely outdated by now). It can fry the electronics in vehicles and buildings, it can also cook your internal organs instantly, killing all personnel it hits too. It will be interesting to hear about characteristics and capabilities as this thing does some testing next year.

By ThisSpaceForRent on 12/14/2007 9:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
So this is a maser, and not a laser?

By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 10:21:07 AM , Rating: 2
Both are based on photon type radiaton. So that wouldn't be entirely inaccurate.

By timmiser on 12/14/2007 12:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. Apparently this laser can pass through armor such as in tanks? I wonder at what point it loses its effectivity? For example, could it kill occupants in a bunker or bomb shelter?

By FITCamaro on 12/14/2007 1:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't pass through armor, it melts its way though it. And even if it didn't melt the armor on the tank, the crew would likely die from the heat.

And it probably could kill anyone in a bunker or bomb shelter. I'm sure its possible it reinforce it enough so that the laser won't make it through, but that would probably require thick steel or a bunker several feet underground. It's not like this thing can shoot through a mountain. But it could probably punch through a few floors of a typical building in Iraq.

By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 1:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure they are going to test for that exact scenario. At what point does the barriers become thick enough to prevent this laser from frying them. Along with how effective it is against modern tanks, munitions in a building, etc.... I wonder if you could cause an ammo cache to explode by hitting the building with this laser.... Now wouldn't that be slick.

By baseball43v3r on 12/20/2007 11:25:25 AM , Rating: 1
we now have a new use for death row inmates, live fire testing of this bad boy!

So I we won't need an armored tank...
By ninjit on 12/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: So I we won't need an armored tank...
By Master Kenobi on 12/13/2007 9:01:26 PM , Rating: 5
Our mirrors can't repel firepower of that magnitude!

By Alexstarfire on 12/13/2007 9:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, I was just thinking about Star Wars too.

I was thinking more like Yoda and light sabers though.

Wonder when we'll discover "the force."

By Jedi2155 on 12/14/2007 3:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
Wow....just've made my day :).

By nayy on 12/14/2007 8:34:30 AM , Rating: 2

By Comdrpopnfresh on 12/13/2007 9:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think a beam of that intensity would need mirrors that the people the laser would be used against cannot afford.

I thought Chris Kight.......
By hr824 on 12/13/2007 9:22:01 PM , Rating: 3
Killed this technology back in 85 through sabotage during testing, resulting in a house full of popcorn.

RE: I thought Chris Kight.......
By HVAC on 12/13/2007 9:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
It is with popcorn that we shall rule the world.

Remember to always check your optics!

I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, ... "I drank what?"

RE: I thought Chris Kight.......
By Dfere on 12/14/2007 11:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
Socrates, Laser... "I drank what...?"...

Ummm REAL GENIUS! Who remembers that movie, besides us?


RE: I thought Chris Kight.......
By pnyffeler on 12/13/2007 10:13:14 PM , Rating: 2
Put simply, in deference to you Kent, it's like lasing a stick of dynamite.

RE: I thought Chris Kight.......
By threepac3 on 12/13/2007 10:21:10 PM , Rating: 2
"Real Genius" was such a classic movie.

By MatthewAC on 12/13/2007 11:01:24 PM , Rating: 3
Best pic yet.

I want, ONE MILLION DOLLARS, ahem, I mean 100 BILLION dollars.

Sharks with "lasers" on their heads, I want some friggin "laser" headed sharks.

RE: "Lasers"
By bryanW1995 on 12/14/2007 12:57:55 AM , Rating: 3
Sir, sharks have become an endangered species. We have, um, sea bass.

Are they at least ill-tempered?

VERY ill-tempered, sir.

RE: "Lasers"
By marvdmartian on 12/14/2007 10:49:05 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I read the article and thought, "Big deal! Anyone can fit a laser inside something the size of a C-130!! You wanna impress me, put one on a shark!!!" LOL

Actually, I was just considering that if they could put a laser with a directional turret on a CV-22 Osprey, then it might even look a tiny little bit like the attack fliers in Terminator.....or at least an early version of one!

RE: "Lasers"
By morton on 12/17/2007 7:00:52 AM , Rating: 2
sharks with lasers? - too hard to train. besides, we've already got dolphins ready...

back at you
By commOdog on 12/14/2007 9:55:48 AM , Rating: 2
what if i just pulled out a mirror and aimed it back at them?

RE: back at you
By Rebel44 on 12/14/2007 10:39:47 AM , Rating: 2
It would destroy mirror AND you - regular mirrors wont have any effect - mirrors used to direct laser beam are VERY complex + different material + very heavy.

RE: back at you
By adam92682 on 12/14/2007 12:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
Superman used an ordinary driverside mirror to reflect Zods laser vision.

Police State
By smokedturkey on 12/14/2007 10:35:02 AM , Rating: 1
Damn straight. Today a 12,000 pound laser on a AC-130 gunship, tomorrow we have them in our fighter jets instead of machine guns. End goal, laser rifles instead of M16s.

NO.... Today a 12,000 pound laser on a AC-130 gunship, tomorrow we have them in our local Patrol Cars instead of cameras.(lol) I see the POLICE STATE closing in on us fast. Vote for RON PAUL

RE: Police State
By techieman on 12/14/2007 2:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
Umm...What would a laser allow the police to do that they can't already do with the pistols and rifles that they have already been issued? The weapon is great in a war zone against an armed or armored enemy when mounted to tanks and aircraft. However, it just seems like a waste when used on an unarmed target when mounted to a police car. If you really wanted to oppress the population, it would be much cheaper and probably more effective to simply replace the police cars with aging Humvees that are equipped with turrets.

RE: Police State
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 3:01:23 PM , Rating: 2
On this same line of thought I would direct you to a story we ran last week.

I really hope it does not take aliens...
By Dfere on 12/14/2007 11:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
For us to unite. Bad for the aliens. Bad for us.

Besides, while I do not disagree with Kenobi on the fact that the world still works on the principle of averted force, I hope we can , at some point, socially evolve.

The fact that we have had sustained governments, in most nations, for the last hundreds of years make me hopeful. And with communication improving between nations, perhaps we can finally get there.

By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 1:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but realistically it won't be within either of our lifetimes. (Barring the Alien Incursion of course)

Hammer Of Dawn ?
By Fnoob on 12/14/2007 12:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
Stick this thing in space now please.

Somewhat geosynchronous over the Mid-East...

Then we send Mike Wallace over to due a Bin Laden interview and mount the laser-pointer thingy on their camera.

RE: Hammer Of Dawn ?
By Master Kenobi on 12/14/2007 1:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
I am about to drop the hammer and dispense some indiscriminant justice!

Space based laser wont be chemically fired.
By MVR on 12/14/2007 11:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
There is significant development being done on purely solid state lasers that will have the firing life-span of even the hottest running LEDs. Space based lasers will be powered by enormous arrays of solar panels, not chemicals.

The systems under design will be stackable and continuously grown as budget allows.

Some nerds hope they reach the capability to vaporize rock from space, which would make drilling boreholes really fun I guess.

I want to see tunnel boring machines that use solid state lasers. How are we going to get those 1500' diameter tunnels from the Matrix movies dug out?

Of course, a laser that uses more energy than the entire USA produces will have its own issues..

By Rebel44 on 12/15/2007 5:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
We also need fussion power plant and some propulsion based on electricity instead of burning chemicals.

Val Kilmer is responsible.
By Mitch101 on 12/14/2007 9:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone think Val Kilmer will read this and think "What have I done?" and some idiots are outside his house right now angry with him for it?

If people in California can call and threaten a guy Called Al Nino because of unusual weather why not.

a cleaner weapon
By dare2savefreedom on 12/14/2007 2:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
we should just drop them "free" copies of windos3 and render their computers useless. All the virus scanning will increase their heat profile and then operators can find them and shoot them.

By dhalilahma on 12/17/07, Rating: 0
By Diablo6178 on 12/20/2007 7:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps on a per capita basis yes, but I doubt on concentration basis. I contend your idiots might be smarter than ours, but we've got more smart people than you do.

...And if not we'll just import more.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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