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Laser Weapon Shoots Down Airplanes In Test

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the phasers-on-stun-good-luck-kirk-out dept.

The Military 627

airshowfan writes "Boeing's directed-energy weapons (a.k.a. frickin' laser beams) have been getting some attention lately. The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is a C-130 that famously burned a hole through a car's hood, and the YAL-1 AirBorne Laser is a 747 that shoots a laser from its nose that is powerful enough to bring down an ICBM. But even cooler is the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), a laser that is mounted on a truck (which probably costs less than a 747, but who knows) and that can shoot down small aircraft, as shown in the picture on this article. (The Laser Avenger supposedly also has this capability). We live in the future!"

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Shiny things? (1, Interesting)

patniemeyer (444913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159586)

Wouldn't making your plane or missile shiny / reflective defeat these things pretty easily?

Re:Shiny things? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30159650)

Let's get that out of the way.

Ignoring the fact that you can't make an object shiny enough, because there'll always be a thin layer of dust, crud, or even oxides on the surface...

...if you dump enough energy into the air near an infinitely-shiny object to explosively transform the nearby air into a plasma, the shiny object still probably gets a big dent in it. Probably even more so if the shiny object is supersonic.

Re:Shiny things? (5, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159752)

Yeah, but if you make your plane shiny and reflective, you make it a lot easier to target with other weapons, like missiles.

Re:Shiny things? (1)

elFisico (877213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160032)

How about putting the reflective cover *beneath* the stealth painting?

1) get hit by laser (at which point you obviously are already detected)
2) stealth painting boils away
3) mirror reflects laser
4) ???
5) Profit!!

Re:Shiny things? (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160230)

The heat which boils away the paint surely also destroys the reflective properties of the material beyond.

Re:Shiny things? (3, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160268)

That won't work. The problem starts at step 2. If the top layer isn't reflective, then as it "boils away" it will convert incoming energy from the laser into heat efficiently enough to destroy any reflective layer that might be under it.

Even if that weren't the case, you'd still have a problem at step 3, because your reflective surface will still absorb too much energy. An expensive mirror that's new, clean, and in perfect condition would still absorb 5% of the energy hitting it in lab conditions. In the air, in combat conditions, coated with goo from the stealth paint that just got burned off of it, the reflective layer wouldn't last even a measurable fraction of a second.

Re:Shiny things? (1)

patniemeyer (444913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160126)

Maybe... though I bet optically shiny is probably not as big a deal as radio shiny... at least today.

Also, maybe you can coat your shiny thing with something dark that is burned off?

I'm sure people have worked through the options, just throwing it out there :)

Re:Shiny things? (5, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160362)

Optical vs. radio is just a choice of wavelengths. Whatever wavelength you pick to be shiny, can be used to detect you. Whatever wavelength you choose to be "not shiny", can be used to destroy you.

I wish GP hadn't bothered to mention the problem of stealth, because it's diverting attention from the point that matters - no material of any sort can be kept sufficiently reflective under combat conditions that the laser wouldn't destroy it. So really, even whatever wavelength you pick to be shiny, can still be used to destroy you.

Re:Shiny things? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160360)

But if they could hit it with a missile then why bother with a huge complicated laser in the first place?

Re:Shiny things? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159800)

Maybe, but that would also make them far easier to detect and hit with conventional anti-aircraft guns and missiles.

-Peter

Re:Shiny things? (1, Interesting)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159830)

A laser that powerful would convey enough impulse to make a hole without needing to heat the target. That fact aside, the slightest absorption would vaporize the mirror anyway.

Re:Shiny things? (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160068)

A laser that powerful would convey enough impulse to make a hole without needing to heat the target.

What mechanism would cause that type of effect?

Re:Shiny things? (1, Interesting)

init100 (915886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160210)

Radiation pressure?

Re:Shiny things? (2, Informative)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160370)

Each photon in the beam transfers its momentum to the target. For total reflection it transfers twice its momentum. This will result in radiation pressure [wikipedia.org] exerting a very localized force (so high pressure), and if there is any absorbtion it will heat up the material locally, causing a temperature shock, since the immediate surroundings don't get time to heat up.

Re:Shiny things? (5, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159984)

Wouldn't making your plane or missile shiny / reflective defeat these things pretty easily?

The answer is no, because no shiny surface has 100% reflectivity (your bathroom mirror probably tops out at around 85%): some of the light will always penetrate to the base layer, and if the surface is being hit by a megawatt weaponized laser, it'll just burn straight through.

Re:Shiny things? (4, Funny)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160150)

well, that's easy... just attach 30 bathroom mirrors IN SERIES. that would reduce it it 1% of the original.

Re:Shiny things? (5, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160378)

So, a Beowulf cluster of bathroom mirrors, then?

Re:Shiny things? (1, Troll)

MagicM (85041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160184)

Assuming they make the missile 90% reflective so only 10% of the power burns a hole, where does the remaining 90% reflect to?

Re:Shiny things? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160112)

What wavelengths would you make it reflect? Not all lasers are in the visible spectrum.

Re:Shiny things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160372)

AFAIK, these lasers are CO2-based and lase in the infrared. You couldn't see the beam with the naked eye.

Simple countermeasure: Fly low (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159604)

No citizen is going to like a missed laser beam blowing up their house.

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (4, Funny)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159980)

Unless you have a gigantic Jiffypop skillet in the foyer! Then it's popcorn for everybody! (At least until the Mythbusters go and ruin my fun.)

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160050)

Not all combat is urban.

Even in urban combat, you can't fly low enough that a ground-based laser that misses your aircraft would hit most buildings. This is actually a pretty good weapon for that scenario, because unlike a projectile it won't fall to Earth if it does miss.

And, I'm betting the chance of a miss is relatively low.

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160154)

agreed

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (1)

badran (973386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160156)

What if it hits a satellite?

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160300)

Well then you might miss tonight's airing of Dallas

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160072)

No citizen is going to like a missed laser beam blowing up their house.

Don't be silly. This will be used over the houses of "those people" in some far away country with an unpronounceable name.

Re:Simple countermeasure: Fly low (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160318)

China and India are hardly "unpronounceable".

Think "Oops, there goes the embassy" (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160334)

N/T.

Can I *now* have fricking sharks... (1)

grepya (67436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159682)

...with frickin laser beams on their heads.

Thoughtful pause ... (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159710)

So when those very enterprising chinese get around to the knock-offs on these which you'll be able to buy on eBay (without the brand name, but at a fraction of the cost!) I'm thinking I stop flying.

Re:Thoughtful pause ... (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159804)

We are getting to the point in history where technology will be rampant. This is ok, as long as their is respect. We don't have respect for ourselves in general, so we will never be able to first love ourselves, so that be may love our neighbors. Once we start to love our neighbor, we can educate and show them the way. Without knowing the right path, evil will prevail and people will die.

Re:Thoughtful pause ... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159892)

I measure the average person's respect for the next person by the metric of cigarette butts per square metre in the local parks.

It's not looking good.

Re:Thoughtful pause ... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160002)

I measure the average person's respect for the next person by the metric of cigarette butts per square metre in the local parks.

By that measure you will be happy to know that I just peed in your gas tank.

Re:Thoughtful pause ... (4, Insightful)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160208)

Once everybody dies, there will be no more evil. Problem solved.

OK, now that we have the frigging lasers ... (0)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159720)

... the only thing left is to mount them on sharks.

That's great (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30159722)

So when do our soldiers get to stop dying because of homemade street bombs?

That's easy (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159774)

So when do our soldiers get to stop dying because of homemade street bombs?

When we stop invading other countries?

Re:That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30159890)

Not that I disagree with you, but sometimes war is necessary; unfortunately it will never be eliminated.

Re:That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160030)

but occupation is not and hopefully will be eliminated.

Re:That's easy (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160036)

I agree war will never be eliminated entirely, but I bet that if you made a rule that war could only be declared by people with children actively serving in the military, it would probably become a lot less 'necessary'.

Re:That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160260)

Their kids would "serve" the same way Dubya "served" in the military.

Re:That's easy (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160392)

Or the way the princes of England are "serving" in their military

Re:That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160048)

or when they are actualy worth something to the people in charge?

but as it stand there are plenty of dumb asses volunteering to get blown up.

Re:That's easy (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160098)

but as it stand there are plenty of dumb asses volunteering to get blown up.

What about those whose tours of duty are up, but who are still forced to be there?

or we start treating it like a war (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160246)

instead of a police action where every activity is on film or subject to investigation.

I doubt we could have won WW2 under the rules we use now, people no longer have the stomach to do what needs to be done.

I know that your point is true, but we also lose soldiers to bombs elsewhere. We also manage to lose many times more to drunk driving yet we turn a blind eye to that.

Re:That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160272)

Will will stop invading when they promise to stop trying things like hijacking planes and flying them into really tall buildings to kill a few thousand civilians.

Re:That's great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160040)

Hmmm...

"soldiers"
money and means to have an army
in someone else's country

"home made bombs"
NO money or means to have an army
in their own country

Who should be judged?

What's next? (-1, Redundant)

SLot (82781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159740)

Sharks with laser beams sinking submarines?

Score one for The Gipper - yet again. (0, Troll)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159758)



Your average /.-er is probably way too young to remember this now, but back in the 1980s, the leftist/Stalinist academic community just excoriated The Gipper over the very idea of Star Wars [Hans Bethe made a particular fool of himself in this regard].

Thankfully, RWR & Edward Teller get the last laugh after all.

Or at least until the Obama administration cancels the program and sells the blueprints to the Chicoms.

Re:Score one for The Gipper - yet again. (2, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159936)

Yes, IIRC they said it would take billions of dollars and 30 years to make and wouldn't be effective against ICBMs.

Re:Score one for The Gipper - yet again. (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160016)

What or who is the gipper?

Re:Score one for The Gipper - yet again. (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160146)

Ronald Ray-gun.

Re:Score one for The Gipper - yet again. (2, Informative)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160396)

Ronald Regan, he played the role of George "The Gipper" Gipp in the film "Knute Rockne, All American;" from it, he acquired the lifelong nickname "the Gipper."

Re:Score one for The Gipper - yet again. (1)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160404)

Ugh, spelling fail :-\

Now... (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159764)

Develop me a functioning Magnetic shield mechanism, so that I can mount both on a 1-man-space-capable-fighter, and get me a date with Natalie Portman, and my fantasy is complete.

invest in mirrors... (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159770)

...It's the new camo paint!

Energy weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30159784)

The main problem with these things is that they just don't release enough energy fast enough. For example this laser beam needs to be aimed at exactly the same point on the target for some non-minuscule amount of time. If the target moves too much or too fast then the laser is much less effective. However, it does let you strike the target instantly and accurately.

Then consider your typical ballistic projectile which expends all its stored energy in a fraction of a second. Much more effective at doing damage. However, projectiles take time to reach their target and are therefore harder to aim accurately.

Re:Energy weapons (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159972)

Yes, it's a shame the laser can't be computer controlled and doesn't move at the speed of light.

Re:Energy weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160192)

Doesn't matter. Imagine a target that rotates (like an ICBM). You can't hit something that isn't facing the laser.

Re:Energy weapons (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160128)

These lasers almost certainly work with pulses. A continuous beam is both wasteful and very difficult to maintain. That said, a megawatt laser pulse is enough to annihilate many types of targets.

*yawn* (3, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159874)

Let me know when my government learns to do anything effectively besides killing

Re:*yawn* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160122)

Wake up... The taxation system is working.

Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30159924)

Here's an honest question, why is a laser better than a high caliber bullet?

Don't get me wrong, I want my sharks all to have lasers but I want to know what the fundamental advantage of a laser is. You don't have to reload one but you do have to recharge it. I doubt the range is better (though the accuracy is perfect I'd guess). And the most powerful one takes a second or two to accomplish its goal.

TIA

Re:Usefulness (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160022)

Maybe one advantage is that you don't see it coming until it strikes, so you simply cannot react.

Re:Usefulness (1)

Manfred Maccx (1365933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160282)

And you are expecting to see the high caliber bullet coming?

Re:Usefulness (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160134)

Here's an honest question, why is a laser better than a high caliber bullet?

Keep in mind that lasers in reality aren't like lasers in movies. In the real world, you don't see it coming, and even after it hits, you don't know where it came from.

Re:Usefulness (1)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160312)

Here's an honest question, why is a laser better than a high caliber bullet?

Speed of light. No need to lead the target. You can use a low powered aiming laser to paint the target. Whenever you shoot something painted, you hit it. 186K Mps > 1K Mph

By the way, we could make a boatload of money selling these things in Afghanistan. Economy problems solved.

Slashdotted? (4, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159926)

Apparently they capture the heat generated by the server as it gets slashdotted to recharge the laser. Keep clicking the links lads, it's your patriotic duty.

Re:Slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160104)

And I'm taking it very seriously, 'cause I want to see the pretty pictures... still not up, must click again (sigh)

747 vs. a truck (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30159976)

a laser that is mounted on a truck (which probably costs less than a 747, but who knows) and that can shoot down small aircraft,

The goal for the 747-mounted laser is to shoot down missiles on the way up (when they are over bad guys) versus on the way down (like the Patriot missile). That's why it's on a plane, not a truck.

Re:747 vs. a truck (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160110)

The goal for the 747-mounted laser is to shoot down missiles on the way up (when they are over bad guys) versus on the way down (like the Patriot missile). That's why it's on a plane, not a truck.

Well, the fact that they are over the people who just launched the missle is a side benefit, and doesn't really factor into why they are shooting it at that stage.

In the primary phase, the missile is pretty limited in what it can do. It has to gain altitude and speed, and really isn't/can't be built to perform evasion at that point. Combined with the fact that the earlier you hit it, the more combustible it actually is.

On the way down, what you are faced with is a VERY fast moving object (assuming you don't target the countermeasures) that has already demonstrated that it can resist the high temperatures of re-entry and consists of very little in the way of combustible materials. It can also employ a variety of measures to alter its trajectory (more than on the way up).

Re:747 vs. a truck (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160324)

If the launch base is unknown and mobile, it is going to be pretty damn hard to hit it with this system. What about submarine launched missiles?

I think the best systems are for area protection, placed near the target instead.

Re:747 vs. a truck (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160202)

Plus, the 747 can carry a larger tank for the sharks

Conflict of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160000)

Boeing's directed-energy weapons...Shoots Down Airplanes

I see a conflict of interest here.

stupid waste of money (-1, Troll)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160004)

The government of the United States robs us blind and produces nothing but corpses and radical conformism amongst its subjects. What use is this idiotic weapon in Iraq or Afghanistan? Or is the US gov't perhaps preparing us for total war against Russia or China? What a smart idea that would be! Perhaps we're going to hunt down French Mirages after we invade the European continent? My mistake - we already occupy Germany and Japan and Korea, shitting tax dollars down an incinerator the entire while.

These projects are nothing but corporate welfare for Boeing and Raytheon. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are homeless and millions of homes sit empty. Projects like these are just mirror images of Star Wars updated for twenty first century idiocity. America will collapse precisely like the Soviet Union. Soon China will get sick of funding your murderous adventurism and you'll be eating leather boots and clay, a fate the US has inflicted on so many others in the past. Perhaps you will find a way to eat your two million dollar Air Force toilets.

Re:stupid waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160096)

You were banned from fark.com for a reason...

Re:stupid waste of money (0, Troll)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160176)

In the old days, the prophets who pointed out the wickedness of their nation were burned. How impotent the mob of mediocre mendacious malcontented mundanes has become!

Re:stupid waste of money (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160390)

How impotent the mob of mediocre mendacious malcontented mundanes has become!

Let's hear it for the nattering nadir of negativism! (or onomatopoeia at any rate).

Re:stupid waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160400)

Shut up you moron.

In the old days we raped and pillaged people and killed millions because someone didn't look at the king the right way.

Re:stupid waste of money (5, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160158)

Czarangelus...

I always wondered where you would pop up after you were banned on Fark. (A pretty impressive feat in its own right). Needless to say, you certainly haven't stopped with the flamebait.

Re:stupid waste of money (2, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160382)

Wow, really? These are all just corporate welfare programs? I guess all the knights in the Middle Ages said that firearms were just affirmative action programs so that poor, untrained, conscripted villagers could compete on a level ground against knights. You can never predict the ways in which methods of combat shift, and so you have to continue to fund initiatives such as these. The current method of conflict now is clearly unconventional and asymmetric, however it could easily switch back to traditional, set-piece combat(ie. WWII and theorized Cold War confrontations). If this shift occurs, Strykers, MRAPs, COIN planes will do nothing for us. That's why we need to continue developing air-to-air technology, ground-to-air technology, and the likes. These things won't win us the current wars, but they damn sure might win us the next ones.

Bond: "Do you expect me to talk . . . ?" (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160008)

Goldfinger: "No, I expect you to die, Mr. Bond . . . "

Sharks aside, lasers only get really scary when someone has one aimed at your crotch.

Apocalypse Now Guy: "Circumcise . . . circumcise, with extreme prejudice."

I have been thinking... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160026)

What kind of shark should one mount the lasers to?

Hammerhead?
Great White?
Tiger Shark?
Mako?
Bull Shark?

Hammerheads aren't *that* aggressive, and as I understood it, not the fastest of sharks, though they are able to live in schools of sharks and are fuckin' cool, they do pack quite a punch in terms of strength, at least the bigger ones.

That said the Great White is of course *the shark* but it's slower than Mako/Tiger sharks, though the strongest, biggest and most terrifying to anyone not so educated about sharks, but Great Whites tends to die in captivity, so we can't use them for that reason.

The Tiger Shark do indeed possess speed, strength and are very aggressive, but alas, as I've understood it, they also die in captivity, a plus is that you won't need to clean up the tank, they'll eat *everything*.

The Mako shark on the other hand is extremely fast, and seems to be able to live in captivity, on the other hand, as far as I know, they are the smallest sharks on this list.

The Bull shark is the most aggressive shark, especially in a school of other bull sharks, they are strong, they can live in both salt, brackish and freshwater (for some time), they are also quite large and strong, making them even more terrifying.

It's a dilemma I've actually thought of, what kind of shark would be most suitable? Does the Slashdot hive mind possess any good opinions on this subject?

Re:I have been thinking... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160346)

Hammerhead. Dual Lasers Rule!

So Now I Own My First 1950's SiFi Laser (3, Insightful)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160078)

Could this Laser help with refining metals on the Moon? Could I use this machine to smooth a road, or carve a tunnel? Outside of making the Bad Guys day miserable, what OTHER uses could this tool have?

Re:So Now I Own My First 1950's SiFi Laser (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160244)

Making your McDonalds coffee hotter?

Re:So Now I Own My First 1950's SiFi Laser (1)

badran (973386) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160290)

You can always raise sharks...

Re:So Now I Own My First 1950's SiFi Laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160326)

TV dinners?

How to pull this off (2, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160100)

It's quite easy. Make sure that you have a defense contractor in every congressional district. Then you get to play the "jobs" card when someone tries to stop an idiotic waste of resources such as this.

Dwight Eisenhower must be turning in his grave now that the Military Industrial Complex that he warned of has come to pass.

Re:How to pull this off (1, Insightful)

Gotung (571984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160394)

Idiotic waste of resources? We aren't the only people on the planet building out our UAV fleet. This sounds like a great anti-UAV weapon.

Should we build a million of these things? Probably not, but having them available just in case is just plain prudent.

Costs (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160130)

...that is mounted on a truck (which probably costs less than a 747, but who knows)...

Uh, yeah. But you probably need a plane to airlift the truck where it needs to go and, once you know where it is on the ground, it's a lot easier to avoid, thereby rendering the fancy laser kinda pointless. Or, instead, you can just build the laser into a plane which is far more mobile, able to get where it's needed and always ensure it has LOS on the target. But, yeah, the truck is cheaper.

This is not new (2, Funny)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160174)

EA has had this in Command and Conquer Zero Hour for quite a few years now. I'm guessing the U.S. military ripped this off from EA.

Endangered species act (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160180)

Now we know why sharks are getting on this list.

High-Res Image? (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160266)

Can someone with "media credentials" get that high-res image and post it somewhere we can see?

Truck mounted? Think Carcharhiniformes!!! (0, Redundant)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160284)

But even cooler is the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), a laser that is mounted on a truck

1. Mounted on a Truck

2. ????

3. Mounted on a Carcharhiniforme [wikipedia.org]

4. Profit!

We live in the future? (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160322)

We have laser weapons for the government and overpriced laggard combustion engines in big shiny headache-generating boxes for the rest.

conflict of interest (1)

dsvick (987919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160352)

So Boeing developed a weapon to shoot down airplanes............. hmmm

Powered from the Jeep's Alternator? (1)

renger (1607815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30160358)

So, what is powering the jeep-mounted laser? It is electrically excited? It seems unlikely that they're using the alternator in the jeep engine? (Or maybe they've got a huge bank of super-caps and they can only fire every few hours, after the caps charge-up?) Note to maintenance: check fan belts before going into battle.

Airborne Laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30160386)

"Boeing's directed-energy weapons (a.k.a. frickin' laser beams) have been getting some attention lately. The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is a C-130 that famously burned a hole through a car's hood, and the YAL-1 AirBorne Laser is a 747 that shoots a laser from its nose that is powerful enough to bring down an ICBM.

Yes, but can it heat up a big, giant aluminum foil ball filled with popcorn in the living room of a house?

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