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December 01, 2008

ABL Laser Test-Fired on Full Power

In related news, my dick is as determined to break free of my pants as B.A. Barackus imprisoned in a warehouse full of farm combines, arc-welders, and WWII-era sea-mines.*

Zapper-boffins at Boeing will now carry out further ground blasts, gradually extending the amount of time the beam is kept on. Provided that there's no bother with these, flight tests will be the next step - culminating with a shootdown of an actual intercontinental missile.

The ABL uses a large, chemically-fuelled laser in the rear half of its 747-400F freighter airframe. The beam generated here passes through management machinery in the forward half of the plane, and then through a swivelling turret in the nose which aims it at its target.

The laser plane is intended by the Missile Defence Agency to play its ray on the fuel-packed rocket stacks of enemy ICBMs as they boost upwards from enemy launch sites. Advocates of the programme suggest that this is a particularly good time to blast WMD-tipped missiles, as any tricky multiple warheads, decoys etc have had no time to come into play.

Critics, however, point out that a large fleet of extremely expensive jumbo-blasters would be required to maintain patrols within striking range of likely launch sites. Furthermore, any silo or pad located deep within a national interior would require the ABLs to intrude on hostile airspace, possibly precipitating the very attack they are designed to prevent.

On top of all that, the chemical fuelling requirements of the laser fleet would be a severe logistic problem, as the necessary stuff is highly corrosive and toxic - as are the waste products produced during firing.

Ah. Well we wouldn't want to produce corrosive and toxic waste products shooting down an ICBM.

Most of those have been certified as Green through the purchase of carbon offsets, you know.


* The A-Team faced villains dumber than Bond every week. Every week, they'd lock them in a storeroom and say to themselves, "There's nothing in there but a heavy bus, conveniently thick metal plates easily improvised into armor, welding torches, half-full propane tanks, flamethrowers in a state of low to mild disrepair, and the battering ram from a medieval siege engine. What trouble could they possibly make?"

Might have well just locked them up in the weapons locker.

Thanks to Arthur.


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posted by Ace at 06:59 PM

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