back to article Boeing raygunship fires first blasts in ground testing

US airliners'n'armaments colossus Boeing announced today that one of its prototype aerial laser cannon planes has fired its first energy bolts in ground testing. "First firing of the high-energy laser aboard the ATL aircraft shows that the program continues to make good progress," said Boeing blast-cannon biz boss Scott Fancher …

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Flame

Fight fire with fire

That will teach those neds shining laserpointers in pilot's eyes!

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Happy

Anyone for popcorn?

imdb "Pure genius".

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Coat

"hey ali get the lazer defences out"

i cant wait to see insurgents coverd in mirrors trying to reflect these lazers back at the planes! i imagine osama wrapped in tin foil (shiney side out) leading the way!

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DM
Coat

Mirrors...

...we need lots of mirrors!

/Mine's the sequin one...

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Black Helicopters

Forgive my ignorance

But would just putting a reflective coating on the target defeat this exercise ?

It'd be like 'Saturday night fever' - all those mirrored surfaces..

---* Bill

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Pirate

Put a mega-taser on the plane, not a laser

Wouldn't that be more fun?....

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Black Helicopters

Flash!

"People in the vicinity of an ATL strike might not realise what had happened until well after the event, if at all.". Well yes. Thats because their retinas will have been burnt out. Purposefully blinding the enemy is illegal. Though if they just happen to be looking at the target when it is hit, thats collateral.

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Coat

@Anyone for popcorn?

The movie title is actually "Real Genius"

...was the first thing I thought of when I saw the article too

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Retroreflectors

You need really well polished surface reflectors in the arrangement of the inside of a cube.

And BIG ones at that.

TBH - even a few percent of that power getting back to the plane is going to seriously bad news, and a decent retroreflector ought to turn around practically all of the incident radiation - whether or not it hits the pilots eyes is pretty much a moot point

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I grew up after. In the ruins... starving... hiding from H-K's.

Too bad someone took the "hunter killer" moniker for some other flesh-reaping abomination already, this reminds me so much of the laser-blastin' H-Ks in movie...

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Joke

ICBM no ICBDs

Can see it now.

West Coast wiped out by Inter Continental Balistic Discball, laser defense is useless.

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Reflective surface

Depends on the heat. Usually the heat would melt the reflective surface, unless the beam needs time to heat up the target.

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Go

Mirrors are useless

All the laser must to is radiate at frequencies that the mirror absorbs, then burns away, like it wasn't even there.

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Anonymous Coward

@Shinobi87

Its definitely laser not lazer. Laser is an acronym where the S stands for stimulated or something similar. Something that could only start with an "s" and not a "z", even in America.

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Flame

Was there not a Tom Clancy book...

Cardinal of the Kremlin IIRC when a guy said about fitting ICBM's with mirrors and spinning them, and the response was that 'it's about as useful as a ballerina spinning in front of a shotgun. That energy has got to go somwhere". This is why the "Star Wars" mirrors, lasers, masers et al had serious cooling problems on the sending end...

As for reflecting it back to the aircraft, that would take some funky aiming to get it right... you may get fried a few times before getting it right, and that is only if the mirror does not get totaled by thermal shock beforehand.

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Thumb Up

20 tonnes?

That's big. Mind you, I think the first iPod was that size and weight.

Give it a few years and these frickin' laser-beams will be small enough to mount atop shark's heads...

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Return to the 70's

Chrome is going to be back in fasion then.

Although this raises an interesting point - do you go ahead and chrome all your tanks / APC's / HummVees and risk the fact that you WILL be seen by standard weapons platforms, or do you go for the standard camo paint job and prey the pilot of the LaserPlane doesnt notice you?

Personally I'd like to see chrome battle tanks on the battle field, it'd just look cool.

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Boffin

@John Robson

"You need really well polished surface reflectors in the arrangement of the inside of a cube."

That just sounds like hellraier (6...or...90...or....whatever the last one was).....Maybe they are secretly trying to make a system to destroy pinhead?

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Coat

Envision giant disco balls...

... mounted over terrorist training camps.

Mine's the CID with reflec coating.

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Coat

@Lee

Correct.

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation

Mine's the one with the opaque goggles in the pocket.

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Happy

PMSL

Thanks for this line :)

"The secret raygun project couldn't resist a hint as to where they got their new technology"

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LASER

Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation

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Heart

Take Out?

So this laser thingy is all about 'taking out' enemy vehicles and missiles? Surely they would be better off destroying them, if you took a missile out it might blow up in the restaurant or something.....

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Bronze badge

Who stole my bicycle reflectors?

The simple retroreflector has become a military weapon!

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Joke

Who's up for Curry tonight

cooked curry in under, lets c... 1.30 secs or is that delivered via a Flashy c130

;p

mines the shiny asbestos lined one.... with the curry stains (on the front, that is);p

illuminatus;p

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Alien

I just want to know when....

...ET started disguising their spaceships as C-130's.

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Coat

Geez guys!

Its and "A"C-130

A... you know .. like ATTACK!

Mines the ones that says "even wiki knew"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_AC-130

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Coat

My Cataracts...

there gone!

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Thumb Up

Sharks?

They are protected. You'll have to use sea bass.

Hopefully you can find agitated sea bass.

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No blinding...

According to Boeing's published tech specs, the laser produces a four-inch-wide infrared beam. Nobody on the ground would even see it, and it's unlikely that mirrors would help; gold is one of the few efficient infrared reflectors, and it's hard to imagine Third World countries plating all their gear in gold.

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Flame

Throw me a bone

Funny, it doesn't look like a shark.

Mine's the one with the folded up fembot in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tom Chandler

You'll still only end up with ill-tempered, mutated seabass with lasers mounted on their heads.

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Silver badge

Has anyone?

Thought about friendly frier

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Jobs Horns

Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation I believe

On a side issue you dont have to use a solid retro refractive surface, might be easier just to coat target in copper with a water jack over the top, High Specific heat capaity and all that and copper to dissipate heat over larger surface area.

"Get the Americans round Abdul, someone drained the immersion heater again"

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Not your average laser

The laser is invisible to the human eye. Mirrors or reflective surfaces wont help. It will just burn straight through them. It burns targets to destroy them. (i.e., hitting the engine block of a armored enemy truck to disable it.)

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Silver badge
Stop

LASER

For the benefit of the pedants, and those who cannot spell.

Light

Amplification through the

Stimulated

Emission of

Radiation.

LASER.

With an S.

*Never* with a Z. Ever. Or I'll send over the C-130 with the pretty lights on it and tattoo it on your motherfucking head from thirty miles away.

Hope that helps :-)

Steven R

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Anonymous Coward

star destroyer... uh no...

heh... a mirror wont work... it's a kilo-watt class laser.. it'd burn right through it and cook the guy holding it. Besides, a mirror is really only designed to reflect visible light.. this thing will not be visible. It's not a death star, guys :)

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C
Boffin

RE:"ET"?

No I'm sure the ET's have these things small enough to fit on hip holsters, or if you fancy some of the more obscure sci-fi, wrist mounted devices.

@Chris G: Yes! Because everyone knows that 'friendly friar' is more accurate!

also BTW polished copper is a good reflector of infrared, I imagine it could be used *behind* camo that is transparent to those frequencies ... OOPS, high $$$ tech once again 'foiled' by simple field engineering! Oh well, I guess its back to the plasma weapons.

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Coat

RE: Sharks?

"They are protected. You'll have to use sea bass."

Oh great. It isn't enough that we have to tolerate freetards - now we've got basstards.

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Stop

Mirrors

would simply fail, even if the laser was visible light. All mirrors absorb some small percentage of incident light. At the wattage this thing puts out, that percentage is more than enough to burn through the mirror in milliseconds.

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IT Angle

@Franklin

1st, you can not see any wavelength of light traveling thru clean air, though I understand you have those visuals from science FICTION tv and films

while you might not be able to see it, infrared can certainly burn a retina .. but if you *observed* a good reflection of this laSer, it's likely your eyeballs would explode a nanosecond before your retinas were destroyed

as far as gold, maybe not third world, but wouldn't be too surprised if Putin were to gold plate a couple of those mobile Nuke's for next year's Red Square military gala, where he'll probably show off a bigger laSer than this, and gold plate that too ..

then US will start goldplating it's military stuff .. and we'll have a US-Russia Gold War until Sony develops it BlueRay Death LaSer .. then the Geneva convention will spend 10 years deciding which Death Ray format is to be used ..

.. and I'll probably be dead before I can afford a home use version <sigh>

my mind boggles, obviously

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Pirate

No rules in love or war?

"Purposefully blinding the enemy is illegal." ooohhhh... naughty! It's the war crimes tribunal for you, Marine!

But slamming high-velocity depleted uranium into their craniums, blowing their limbs off with cluster bombs, burning them with phosphorus or melting them with microwave anti-personel rays ISN'T illegal, so, like, go for it!

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Silver badge
Coat

I saw a laser demonstration years ago

The one they were showing off could burn through 8 centimeters of armor grade steel in less than 3 seconds from a range of .5 kilometers.

They then demonstrated with a block of acrylic. The beam sputtered out about half way through due to the dense smoke.

So, if you don't want something fried with a laser, cover it with plastic! Or just put it in a foggy area, lasers are useless in less than clear conditions!

(I'll be off then, to gitmo, for revealing state secrets!)

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FFS

I get the distinct impression that the development of ideas for future weapons involves several cases of beer and watching the austin power movies. Next thing they will be proposing is to build a bigger version of this on the moon and calling it a "death star". Complete with an experimental Mini-me

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Flame

Call me when they build this round a FEL

Meh. It's a chemical laser. Those things can only go a few shots before the reactants are used up, and they create a load of really, really toxic waste products. I can certainly see the attraction of frying a truckload of Jihadis completely silently from 20 clicks away - if for nothing more than psychological reasons.

What we really need is a free electron laser capable of MW power output and low cycle time. That really would be a deathray worthy of the name.

Fire hazard icon for the pyrotechnic hijinks possible with your laser-armed gunship.

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Silver badge

Don't fire through dust, clouds or smoke!

Because in these conditions the laser energy will get absorbed by the air instead of the target.

Good thing battles only happen in clean environments.

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Black Helicopters

Fake right?

This looks like a faked picture. The C-130 has landing gear that doesn't extend far enough from the airframe to land or take off with that dome hanging underneath. Perhaps the dome is retractable, but that's a lot of trouble when there's more apt and more stable platforms available.

There's no way they'd redesign the landing gear on a C130 to accomidate that. There's no reason to add complexity (and weight) to extremely heavy test gear by making it retractable. I wouldn't think that the low running cost of a C130 would be a deciding factor when you are developing a weapon such as this.

There's a slight odour of rodent in the air.

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wim

invisible shed ?

will it burn my invisible shed ?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/31/invisible_shed_potter_klingon_cloak_bond_aston_tank/

that is what I want to know.

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Go

Mirrors do work....

A 2-bar electric fire dissipates 2kW (mostly infra-red) and reflects it into the room with a chrome-plated steel sheet of about 0.1 square metres.

This reflector has a life-time measured in years!

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Flame

silent?

All of the mirror comments wont matter if they aren't kept clean, a spec of dust will begin to heat on the mirror surface and then burn it away, gold or not. As for peoples comments about it being kilowatt class and mirrors being useless at this power level, you can reflect gigawatt beams with no problem as long as you have the right wavelength (99.99% reflective) CLEAN mirrors.

And the bit that really bugs me: SILENT!!!!

you ever heard a laser melt something, or vap it entirely. Its not quiet.

I agree with the comments from David Giles, they sure do make some nasty waste. Infact if you totted up waste against usefullness these probably outweight a nuclear reactor.

Fire coz we all know burning stuff isn't silent

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