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back to article Aerial laser gunboat 'burns hole in fender' of moving car

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) ray-cannon, mounted in a specially-equipped Hercules transport plane flying above New Mexico, has now succeeded in "putting a hole in the fender" of a ground vehicle driving along beneath it. The not particularly awesome result was announced by Boeing, maker of the ATL, yesterday. "In this …

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Hmm I probably should

clean my car a bit more often, just in case of some 'friendly fire' heading my way..

That and have a respray in silver.

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Black Helicopters

But consider their enemy...

Don't forget that a lot of America's enemies are idiots. We're talking either

a) People who blow themselves up to get 72 virgins

b) Countries so backward that most have never even heard of an atom bomb

c) Conscripts

If you're driving in a patrol vehicle which suddenly sets itself on fire (or if the guy next to you suddenly dies) then it's going to scare the crap out of you. They won't go "oh it's just that plane. It's got 6 more shots then has to load up with toxic chemicals." They're more likely to go "<higher power> is vengeful", "sniper!" or "I'm not paid enough for this." and promptly run home telling their commander about the incident, who will probably just as uneducated.

Sure, against another western power the ray gun isn't very viable, but against the people this will likely be used on it's going to be a major boon. An AP gun you can put anywhere, easily extract and leaves no trace? Yes please.

Finally - wasn't the original intention to take out ICBM's? I think that kind of hit on the fuel lines of an ICBM would be pretty catastrophic...

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Black Helicopters

Extra Anti-Terrorism Regulations

Guess we'll have to ban the sale of shiny tin foil to most of the Middle East.

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FAIL

Holy fenders Batman!

If that's all they wanted they should have spoken to Alfa-Romeo. They've had many years of expertise in making cars where the wings suddenly develop holes without all that tedious messing around with large aircraft, massive chemical lasers and millions of dollars.

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Grenade

So.

We can offer you 6 shots 20 miles off against a stationary car and scorche the paintwork off, the owner will be pretty miffed.

or we can drop a GPS bomb from 2 miles up that leaves a pretty big crater.

If it's supposed to be covert, exactly how many countries can do the paint burning job, and how many can do the GPS/Laser bomb type thing?

DJ

Handgrenade, because it's more deadly than this waste of cash.

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Almost there...

Perhaps the goals of the project need a slight refocusing (boom-boom). Why not use the laser to deface the target's tax disc? Then they'll get nabbed by the local plod.

OK - stupid idea. Nearly as stupid as using a 20-ton airborne chemical laser to put bubbles in the paintwork on the Al Quaeda team minibus.

Careful with that thing. You could have someone's eye out.

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Hole in the head?

If it can make even a small hole in a car fender, it would probably do just as an effective job of making a hole in the head of a person. With much less 'collateral damage' and at a range of several klicks.

Targeting might be an issue, but if you want to kill someone important and at long range it's a much better alternative than a guided bomb, and only being able to fire six shots won't be an issue.

All of a sudden people wearing tin foil hats don't seem so stupid

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FAIL

Define "moving"

Motorised wheelchairs "move" but I wouldn't necessarily consider shooting one of those with a high-powered energy weapon particularly useful.

Come back when it can remove ( or at least warp beyond the possibility of firing) the barrel from a M1 Abrams at 20km in less than 3 seconds. Then I'll be impressed.

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Re Xander

I hope your being Ironic:

[Quote]"Don't forget that a lot of America's enemies are idiots. We're talking either

b) Countries so backward that most have never even heard of an atom bomb"

[/QUOTE]

1.) North Korea

2.) Iran

3.) ex-soviet States

4.) China

5.) Al-Queadh/Taliban

6.) France

The first 4 have or are very close to Nuclear technology.

Al-Queadh/Taliban aren't just moving into Pakistan because they like the food, Pakistan is a Nuclear armed country.

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FAIL

Moving vehicle?

Is it me or is that car stationary (not a pencil you horrid trolls but static, not moving, currently using potential energy not kinetic)??

The background is static, how is that a sucessful test against a moving vehicle. Do they mean with the laser gunboat moving?

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WTF?

Thanks, but...

no thanks. I'll be impressed when they they're at least willing to do that kind of thing with the Boeing VP in charge of the project within six feet of the target vehicle. That low impact will be useful given serious confidence and precision, but without that or real damage.... It's just some dorks wanting to live up to his Real Genius fantasies.

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Troll

Not to self:

Don't buy a car with a big black-outlined square on the bonnet.

Although the article says the test was against a moving target, that youtube clip clearly shows a stationary target. Unless, of course, you take a stationary frame of reference with respect to the Earth's axis, in which case it's zipping round and round at 1000mph, give or take...

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Flame

when i see LASER's hitting cars...

..I don't wanna see little welding torch size holes being daintily cut into them, I wanna see almost immediate and total destruction due to the intense ammount of heat generated by the LASER coming into contact with a moving metal body, wrapped around a petrol tank.

<--- Flames, I want FLAMES!!!

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FAIL

Shouldn't a moving target......

be, erm, well, actually *moving*?

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yummy

at least it seems able to roast chikens. it's the flyin' kfc. troops will love it!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Poor show Lewis

No it isn't intended to take out ICBMs. You are thinking of the Airborne Laser, the ABL, also from Boeing but much more powerful and installed in a jumbo jet not a Hercules, extensively written up on this very site. As a man about to get his three-hundred-comments badge really ought to be aware.

This is the ATL, intended for tactical uses against tactical targets, and its cost-effectiveness is much more questionable.

Write out fifty times, "I must take a deep breath and count to ten before I hit 'post' on obnoxious and ignorant comments".

And the rest of you moaning about the vid. Do read the article, FFS: "the vid above of an earlier trial against a stationary vehicle".

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Evil Sharks or Evil Billionaires?

Are those evil sharks the billionaires own or are they just sharks that evil billionaires own?

Inquiring (or enquiring) minds want to know.

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You've got to love Lasers

A fantastically useful invention that has found millions of application yet steadfastly refuses to be turned into a weapon. In the process it burns up millions of dollars of military spending that would otherwise be used to kill people.

The only real military use is to make conventional weapons more accurate, which one could argue actually saves lives.

Laser FTW!

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Does it work...

On a chrome plated car?

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Paris Hilton

Sharks on hold

"The news will doubtless have a depressing effect in evil billionaire circles. It would seem that the day of the cranially mounted, shark-portable, waterproof pool menagerie above-water combat augmentation system remains as far off as ever."

Refueling evil sharks after only six bursts of pseudo-effective laser blasts is notoriously troublesome, as the shark psyche will have it believe it can unleash it's destructive tour de force for days on end. No, all of us aspiring overlords still have time to find funds for the yet to be developed and never before imagined awesomeness of the much superior solid state laser.

Paris, she'll be my queen once I rule the earth whoehahaha /que pipe organ

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Headmaster

"Speed of light"?

The clip is 18s long, (I can't watch it because of work firewalls :( )

So how long does this "Speed of light" weapon take to burn a fender off the car?

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@Lewis

To be fair, you do mention that that vid is of a stationary vehicle. However, you plonked the vid right in the middle of a paragraph about a moving target, and that little reference to it is a full five paragraphs later...

I do, however, stand corrected.

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good work

Can you strap this under a stealth bomber? looks ideal for political assassination.

Don't forget the musket was pretty crappy when it was first invented, its like a bow only its got a 3 minute reload time, is loud as hell, doesn't work in the rain and will occasionally explode in your hand. Carry on with the research Johnston and let us know when you can fry dogs from orbit.

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Smoke

How well would this thing work through a dense cloud of smoke? Quite a low tech defence but I suspect it would work.

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Re: Moving vehicle?

Picky, picky. The vehicle is "capable" of moving. Is that not enough for you people?

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Black Helicopters

If it can´t even kill a Humvee...

If it can´t even kill a Humvee (which is used by the US), how is it supposed to defeat a Toyota 4x4 Pickup (which is used by everyone else)?

I mean, even Clarkson couldn´t kill one.

Though, not having to circle your target is nice, but I can´t see the advantage to a Strike Eagle with half a dozen AGM65.

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Headmaster

@Tim Spence

"*That* is sarcasm by the way."

... using a defintion of "sarcasm" with which I, and I gather a large part of the rest of the English-speaking world, was up to now somewhat, if not quite, unfamiliar.

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France?

@Anonymous Coward - I guess you're American if you count France as a rogue nuclear state? Here in the UK, we let them run our power stations and build our aircraft carriers. In fact I've often wondered if it would be more cost effective to replace Trident with French boats and bang-bangs. At least we wouldn't have far to go for spares.

By the way, if anyone wants to trademark Force Frappe as the name for a chain of coffee shops - I thought of it first.

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C'mon people

This is an actual laser gun. The kind of Star Wars, Descent or EON laser gun, actually working. It's the stuff from H G Wells but not in a book anymore but in real hardware. Isn't it something?

If it can make a hole in a car fender, it can nicely roast any human target as well, particularly one wearing a black balaclava, I would think.

Next version will be smaller, more efficient and pack more rounds.

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What's "covert" about this?

So a guy's head suddenly catches fire and he dies. How on Earth is this covert? Perhaps ten years ago someone might have wondered what the hell happened, but nowadays it'd be pretty obvious that the guy has been blasted by a high-energy laser, certainly belonging to the USA. Noone is going to suppose it was spontaneous combustion. It doesn't look any more covert than throwing a smart bomb at him.

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WTF?

Re: Xander / AC

<comment>

b) Countries so backward that most have never even heard of an atom bomb"

1.) North Korea

2.) Iran

3.) ex-soviet States

4.) China

</comment>

China has been using nuclear power for decades? Home planet check - over.

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Anonymous Coward

@Xander

are these the backward peope that have yet to loose a war?

The Afgans beat the Russians and after almost a decade and trillions of dollars, a little backwards man in a cave, is still no nearer being caught or killed by the US alliance.

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Happy

OMG Lewis Page does read the comments!

I would have thought that the effective range of the laser would have been classified. That or the figure they've given is a bluff. The tricky bit here is working out which way they are bluffing!

As an aside, the main issue I can see with this is like the helicoptors we had that didn't work in stormy weather. Admittedly, with the current targets being SCUDS which are a favourite of various middle eastern opposing forces, this might not be an issue!

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So...

....we're still quite a way from being able to attach one of these "lasers" to a shark's head?

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Paris Hilton

*cough*

"No telltale bullet or projectile would remain at the scene."

Thus neatly leaving the only suspects as countries that can whang a 20-ton chemical laser into a Hercules and provide targeting data accurate enough to kill from several kilometres away to service it...goshdarn it, that'll fox 'em, we'll have ten!

Paris, cause I think even SHE'D get it in three...

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Pirate

Quick Star of David Tattoo

To me, it looked a hell-of-a-lot like it just cooked a star of David into the paintwork.

.. which, in one or two unsympathetic countries, may well amount to a death sentence for the unfortunate occupants.

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Val Kilmer could defeat that...easy!

Anyone who has seen Real Genius will simply fill their car with popcorn and stick a retroreflector in the window and Hey Presto.... A delicious low fat snack accompanied by fried Hercules! Simples.

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Black Helicopters

@Xander

You are making exactly the same mistake that our glorious leaders continue to make, viz.

digital watch = intelligent

no digital watch = stupid

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FAIL

@Anonymous Coward

'6.) France

'The first 4 have or are very close to Nuclear technology.'

Just to let you know, France has a tantalising selection of appalling powerful yet stylish hydrogen warheads that could reduce most of the Lower 48* to a desolate wasteland inhabited solely by cockroaches and a giant mutated Chuck Norris.

* Hawaii's too nice to nuke and Alaska's got polar bears.

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Re: Hole in the head

I could well be wrong but I suspect human heads are probably a bit wet for the laser. I'd duck under something hefty at the first whiff of burning hair.

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Flame

Was I the only one...

Who expected a beam/burn hole a foot wide?

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Happy

RE: Re: Poor show Lewis

Ooooh, we get badges? Nice! How many posts do I have, please?

Oh, and I do wonder what would have happened to the car, rolling down the road at 70mph, if one of the tyres was suddenly blown out by the airborne laser..... One deniable RTA later, one less enemy of the States.

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As Yank

I've Yet to hear any one in the US call France an enemy. We might make jokes about France, but if you hear an American saying France is the Enemy, you are seeing an America off their meds . It's the equivalent of a UK reg reader saying they support ID cards and Jacqui smith is the greatest person that ever lived .

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Grenade

This is a weapon?

OK, so they're running on reduced power and checking they can hold a beam on target.

Good.

But I would expect a weapon to deliver a high-energy pulse which would do damage by explosively vapourising the target surface, before any atmospheric heating effects buggered the beam focus. I want to see a bang, not a sizzle.

Check the Atomic Rockets site.

And what would Florence Ambrose do?

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Re: AC 12:15

Seriously, people, this guy is either a troll, or an ignorant idiot (no, that's not redundant - one refers to knowledge, one refers to intelligence).

His inclusion of "France" as one of America's enemies makes me strongly suspect he's a troll - even our right wing nuts who go around ordering "Freedom Fries" don't usually count France as an enemy; they see them as a crappy backstabbing ally. Which says a lot about the intelligence of said nuts.

One way or the other, it's best not to feed him.

-Daniel

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Re: Thanks, but...

That's not asking much. Boeing has lots of VPs.

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Unimpressive? Think again.

As a proof-of-concept test it's quite impressive. ANY laser could use this targeting system. The next generation of 100MW solid state battle lasers would do much more than drill a hole in the fender: they'd melt the car.

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Grenade

A Fender?

It looks like a Car Bonnet or possibly a Boot , but not a Fender (or Bumper.)

Sorry to be picky!

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