And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cue the Goldfinger Music

Set phaser to stun before you shoot your own foot off and check this out (the photo there is just a rendering). Boeing, those wonderful people whose commercials on FOX (the only place I've seen them) give me creepy feelings, have repurposed their high-energy "We's gonna shoot us some ICBMs" laser to attack in atmosphere and ground targets.

Part of me is thinking, "woohoo, actual laser strikes" and the other half of me is thinking, "say, this might not really be such a good thing." Now, to be fair, this isn't the first time a laser system has been outfitted this way, but before it was for targeting and command purposes (I have a good memory of walking through the stripped down aeral combat command center at a Dayton Airshow with two good friends of mine and pointing out the equipment that was bogus replacements, what was missing, and who exactly the guards posted inside and out worked for, yeah, I have strange friends). This is a much more powerful laser.

So there it is, a weapon system that is so totally cool and stranger than fiction (almost) and also one that makes the inner me go, "eww."


Ken McConnell said...

I got no link. Just wobbly text.

Steve Buchheit said...

Sorry, Ken, mistyped the HTML. It's fixed now.

Ken McConnell said...

Cool, thanks Steve. Wow, I hope they don't test that around Boise. Yikes, melted from above. It is way cool though, wonder if the munitions companies are worried.

"What do you mean the AF canceled our bullet contract? Lost out to light again!"

Todd Wheeler said...

Re-reading Dune right now and that would be Herbert's 'lasgun'.

Which means time for someone to start inventing las-shields. I vote for Google. They have some free cash.

Steve Buchheit said...

Ken, well I still see a definate need for slugthrowing for a long time to come. I remember a dream in which I and a team were trying to take a house (I don't know why, I just remember the need), the opposing team called in air support which drove us back. I remember getting to the tree line just as a bullet slammed into my leg. My thought, as I awoke at that point, was "That was totally unfair. I made the trees, I was safe" (which is a ridiculous thought, but there it was). I appreciate total shock and awe (of which our first few hours of Gulf II wasn't) as a way of superior force projection, but this seems a little overboard to me. Like bringing a minigun to a fist-fight.

Todd, as long as it isn't Microsoft. That would bring a whole new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.

Jim Wright said...

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die...

I love the comments attached to the article. The general theme seems to be: maim, burn, horrible wounds, civilians, etc.

Ah, having been to war, more than once, these people ought to see what the collateral damage is for conventional weapons. Just saying.

Oh, and I want one.

Steve Buchheit said...

Jim. oh yeah, I'd want one too. This goes back to the old Puff (which I think they now call "Spooky") concept of close air support. I'm just a little queezy about the escalation issues this brings in. And sure, collateral, when things go boom, they don't stop for artifical barriers when those barriers aren't blast walls. And not every soldier is a sniper and sometimes you have to spray and put down cover and grazing fire. Those bullets go somewhere.

But hey, lasers, self cauterizing wounds.