That’s right folks — the United States of America has accomplished awesomeness yet again.
In tests earlier this month at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser — a modified C-130H aircraft — “fired its high-energy chemical laser through its beam control system. The beam control system acquired a ground target and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL’s battle management system.”
“By firing the laser through the beam control system for the first time, the ATL team has begun to demonstrate the functionality of the entire weapon system integrated aboard the aircraft,” Boeing exec Scott Fancher said, in a statement.
The WIRED article above isn’t too keen on the ray gun (seems as if it will allow us to do nefarious things… like destroy enemy equipment without actually engaging):
For example, they say it can either destroy a vehicle completely, or just damage the tires to immobilize it. The illustration shows a theoretical 26-second engagement in which the beam deftly destroys “32 tires, 11 Antennae, 3 Missile Launchers, 11 EO devices, 4 Mortars, 5 Machine Guns” — while avoiding harming a truckload of refugees and the soldiers guarding them.
Yeah. That’s totally not cool. Disabling tanks without civilian casualties… how absurd.
The New Scientist has all the “how tos” and such. Not only is there a massive cool factor in this, it’s a huge leap in how American’s military can project force and protect lives.