Print 110 comment(s) - last by Diablo6178.. on Dec 20 at 7:21 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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 if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki