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November 15, 2004

Pentagon Successfully Tests Laser Cannon for Planned Y-Wing Fighter

Okay, they're calling it a 747 armed with an airborn laser, but we all know it's a Y-Wing:

The United States has reported a successful ground-based test of an airborne laser meant to intercept ballistic missiles.

The Missile Defense Agency said the megawatt-class laser underwent a successful test on Nov. 10. The Pentagon agency said the laser was operated in a ground-based demonstration at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Officials said this marked the first time that a directed energy weapon meant for use in a Boeing 747 aircraft has been demonstrated.

The test, which lasted a fraction of a second, involved the simultaneous firing of all six laser modules and associated optics that comprise the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser. Officials said the modules,built by Northrop Grumman, performed as expected.

Officials said the test was conducted in the framework of the Airborne Laser project. "It was the first time that multiple modules of the powerful laser had ever been fired while linked together as a single unit," the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement on Nov. 10. "In the test, the laser light produced by the six modules was fired into a wall of metal called a calorimeter or beam dump. The temperature rise of the metal was used to validate that laser power was generated."

It's pretty unbelievable when you think about it. We're actually building a flying megawatt-laser platform.

This is a dumb question, but, hey, that's what I do here. If we can build a laser powerful enough to kill a missile, can't we build one powerful enough to kill a man? Targeting should be a snap; a man is only an order of magnitude smaller than a missile, and men don't tend to move at 3000 mph.

Seems to me that in most cases it's not really missiles which are the "root cause" of our problems.

Can't we increase the temperature of Kim Jong-Il's head to several thousand degrees the next time he observes his goofy jumping-jack soldiers on parade?


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posted by Ace at 01:50 PM

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