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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: 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.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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