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July 17, 2006

Frickin' Lasers To Protect Israel From Katyushkas?

Cool beans. The new SkyGuard system may be deployed in northern Israel... eventually, and if Nothrop can manage an export licence.

was, perhaps, the most successful laser gun in the history of energy weapons. Now, it could just prove to be the key to Israel's defense. Maybe.

In the early part of this decade, the Israeli and American militaries worked with Northrop Grumman to build the Tactical High Energy Laser, or THEL. During tests at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the chemical-powered energy weapon blasted out of the sky 28 Katyusha rockets -- just like the ones now assaulting Israel. Another 18 artillery shells and mortars were successfully zapped, as well. No other laser has ever come close to building up that kind of track record.

Downside: $200 million estimated cost for system (probably twice that), plus $1000 per single shot, plus lots of ferociously toxic chemicals created by the reactions needed to fuel the laserblasts.

Upside: It's all so f'n' awesome it couldn't be more awesomer if it had awesome sauce pouring out of its awesomehole. (Thanks to JK for that, though I suspect he's getting it from Jack Black.)

Video of Katyushka shoot-downs at link.

Improving The SkyGuard: Most lasers are invisible, which is just freakin' gay. I want to see them.

So I propose (at no cost; this idea is freely provided) mounting a gun that fires brilliant neon-red tracer rounds along the path of the laser, with a massive soundsystem that plays the laser-bolt sound effect from Star Wars (choookh! chooookh!) whenever the laser is fired.

I just think that when you have a totally awesome laser defense system, it should look and sound totally awesome, too. Not some invisible, silent pussy-crap.

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posted by Ace at 03:39 PM

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