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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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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.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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