back to article Raygun 747 test will be delayed, hints Boeing

Arms'n'airliners colossus Boeing says that its nuke-frying, raygun-packing jumbo jet project might suffer further delays if politicos on Capitol Hill cut funding. The beam-cannon 747, formally titled the Airborne Laser (ABL), is intended to cruise near rogue states such as Iran or North Korea. Should the pariah government in …

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  1. Tawakalna

    in other words...

    "it doesn't work and never will, but we want to keep ripping off the taxpayer for those $50,000 hammers and $10,000 toilet seats for as long as possible. After all, we're protecting the American way-of-life!"

    (that'd be graft, corruption, and a sick obsession with technology and death, then...)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Air to ground capability

    Surprised no-one has looked at this. Imagine being able to destroy your enemy's command and control systems by laser, from hundreds of miles away.

    Or even hitting the entrance to a cave...

  3. DoubleD

    Bright Side

    Even if it's pushed back a few years it could still be ready in time for the Dalek invasion that might happen.

  4. Eugene Goodrich

    C&Cs tend to be tougher than intercontinental ballista

    The laser can smoke an intercontinental missile because they're light and live in aluminum tubes; melt the middle of that aluminum tube and it should become sufficiently unaerodynamic that its flight ends. The challenge is putting enough power on it for a short while to do that.

    Doing damage to a building would require a lot more power / energy. It wouldn't be efficient to use a system designed to damage something small and fast-moving to damage something large and sessile, or at least large and dormant. The wasted optimizations bring along with them a lack of overall damage-dealing capacity. Although, the zero-flight-time ability does reduce the enemy's ability to defend against the attack.

    Still, I assume the better way to destroy an enemy's command and control system, from hundreds of miles away, is to hit it with a bomb. (Either the bomb flies the hundreds of miles, or an airplane carrying it does. Have you seen any enemies physically deny us the ability to fly planes with bombs over their targets recently?)

  5. E

    @C&Cs tend to be tougher than...

    "Have you seen any enemies physically deny us the ability to fly planes with bombs over their targets recently?"

    Well no, but then again, you've been fighting either a 3rd world country (Afghanistan) with no indigenous industrial/technological capacity to speak of, or 2nd world countries (Iraq) which industrial/technological capacity was systematically reduced during the course of a 12 year air war - 1991 to 1993. In 1991 and 1993 neither country had any military capacity to speak of. Yeah, they didn't oppose. So what?

    If the USA fought a country with simliar industrial/technical capacity it would be a somewhat different story.

    You're really just wanking.

  6. Alan Donaly

    right like I said before

    Ten of them in the bone yard one for show and the rest

    for parts and no they will never use it. If it gets that far

    at least you can do things with 747's tear all that stuff out and

    use it to ferry troups or whoever but that would require thought

    so it is a total waste.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Physical denial

    Physically denying airspace is done with airplanes and ground-to-air missile defense like SAMs, or ballistic ordinance (good ol' shelling and heavy machine guns).

    Just because the US of A has been immorally invading countries under decades-long embargo doesn't mean no other country has these capabilities. The entire world has noted that, while Saddam was once given the status of leading the worlds 3rd-powerful army, Pentagon officials have carefully avoided any militaristic stance against North Korea, country that does indeed have nukes and is quite capable of using them.

    Maybe, if this laser bird does indeed lift off, we might see Pentagon stance change on North Korea. I doubt that would be a good thing, though.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This thechnology is obsolete

    The russians have already come up with a low tech, low cost defense. It's called smoke. As long as the rocket's nose emits a thick enough smoke, the laser can't hit the target, because it will only heat up the outer layers of smoke. And since smoke is contantly left behind and replaced by fresh smoke, the cover never heats up. The solution also has the nice sideeffect of hiding the rocket's heat signiture because the exhaust will also be covered in smoke. The only good defense is phyisical contact with a projectile, guided by optical sensors. This is what the entry phase rocket defense system does. The actual catch is that if you can't see the target, you can't hit it. This is why bad weather could delay the tests. Probably all smarter hostile nations already installed smoke generators on their ballistic rockets. (it's just a cheap addition and works like a charm from launch to impact)

    ps: China doesn't even need this, they could just stop supplying the us and it would collaps on its own or they could pack a nuke into some lead (...painted dolls) and ship it to the usa in a container. Cheaper, more economical and much easier.

  9. Richard

    spies like us

    Is anyone else reminded of the Chevvy Chase/Dan Ackroyd movie spies like us?

    isnt that the one where a missle is launched and the americans try to blow it up with a laser............and miss

    my god the line between fantasy and reality is getting more and more blurred every day

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shiny objects

    Surely if the ICBM's surface is highly polished metal instead of being painted, then most of the laser light would just reflect off ?

  11. Jay

    total white elephant

    3rd world enemy - no nukes to destroy

    2nd world enemy - no match for conventional forces

    1st world enemy - could quite easily find and shoot down a 747

    now, unless this flying laser has an unknown alternate use, it's just another way off ripping off dumb american proles. not that that's a bad thing lol

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