back to article Senate to call Boeing's 2009 raygun nuke-zap bluff?

Senators are planning to cut budgets for the space interceptor portion of the controversial US missile defence programme, according to reports. However, it appears that a complementary scheme to blast enemy ICBMs shortly after takeoff using a giant laser cannon mounted in a jumbo jet will be fully funded. According to a report …


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  1. Joe Shmoe

    Czech republic (and Slovakia) please...

    ... it's only been 14 years since they've split. Guess it takes a generation of ignorant hacks to sink in :)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do the Pentagon realise that Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as of 1st Jan. 1993?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freudian slip?

    Maybe the Pentagon really did say Czechoslovakia and the funding is being diverted into a secret time traveling project to send the kit back to pre-'93?

  4. Raheim Sherbedgia


    This is one of the coolest things the U.S. military has done in a very long time. It's a lot more practical than more electronic junk for soldiers to haul around and it comes with super heavy bragging rights and propaganda opportunities.

  5. Morely Dotes

    Technical correction

    "Being mostly pressurised tanks full of explosive rocket fuel, ICBM boosters are fairly prone to blowing up if even you leave them alone"

    Well, actually, most of them are solid-fuel rockets of the same general type used as strap-on SRBs for the Space Shuttle.

    Which by no means invalidates the "prone to blowing up" point, but I think it's important to distinguish between cryogenic liquid exploding, and what is, in essence, a bunch of rubberised gelatin.

  6. Andy Bright

    Leave my X-Wing alone

    For all you non-believers out there, this is the first step towards the ultimate goal of an X-Wing in every garage. Leave them alone. Finally a space program that matters, you can keep your "space amoeba are aliens" and you trips to the moon for a bucket of water - this is the real reason Americans fund NASA and a Looney Toons defense budget.

    Nice photos Cassini, but really, who gives a fuck how pretty space is unless your winging your way past Saturn, blasting real aliens in a Jumbo? The only possible reason to keep Hubble alive is to make sure someone is there to take the pictures when we take our laser-buffed space armada for it's first spin.

    What Jumbo's can't fly into space you say? Fuck you. If a plastic ship shaped like an F-15 with it's wings clipped and nose sliced off is good enough for the brave souls on Battlestar Galactica - then my Jumbo Death Cannon can fly into space.

    I'll expect mine by Christmas thank you - complete with BBC Micro HUD graphics and some fat guy called Wedge as my wingman.

  7. Lewis Page (Written by Reg staff)

    Technical correction again

    In fact the Taepodong 2 - the threat ICBM around which the US missile defence programme is officially structured, as it is the only possibility for NK and Iran - uses liquid fuel:

    China's only real ICBM is also liquid fuelled:

    The Russian strategic missile force - which everyone admits, US missile defence cannot deal with and is not intended to - does use a lot of solid fuelled mobile Topol-M kit. However as of 2005 the Russians reportedly still had a large number of Voivode liquid heavies.

  8. jubtastic1

    Not that it would ever happen...

    But if say they missed the missile with one of these bastard big lasers, what would be the effect on anyone unlucky enough to have their eyes open in the jumbo's line of sight?

  9. the Jim bloke


    "Not that it would ever happen...

    ......But if say they missed the missile with one of these bastard big lasers, what would be the effect on anyone unlucky enough to have their eyes open in the jumbo's line of sight?"

    you can also ask

    2 -What would happen to anyone underneath when the missile is blown apart ?


    3 -What would happen to anyone at the missiles intended destination, if it in fact, reached it ?

    Second question is probably a more serious threat to health and safety than geting hit by the laser.. But #3 trumps all of them.

    Consider Geometry.

    Missiles will be launched from bases inside the country of origin. Big-arse-laser-jets are expensive, and should not be flown over hostile countries who possess anti-air missiles.

    Therefore, B-A-L-Js will not be firing "down" at the missiles, but rather "across", and presuming any kind of delay in firing will mean the missiles will have gained significant altitude before they are engaged. The more "across" the laser travels, the more atmosphere to attenuate the beam, and the less likely it is to damage ground targets.

    Anyone who is so unlucky as to be looking in the direction of some random laser shot which actually is directed towards the Earths surface, will probably be blinded and get all sorts of nasty burns, which will interfere with their ability to fully enjoy the global nuclear winter, collapse of civilisation, amatuer re-enactments of the worst Mad Max movie rip offs, and general chaos that a nuclear exchange has been promised to bring us.

    Sucks to be them.

  10. the Jim bloke

    more @ jubtastic1

    It just occured to me.

    Anyone in the path of one of these beams..

    is in "proximity" to a site that launched warheads at the USA.

    Being dazzled is the least of their worries.

    Without a canned laugh-track to tell them which bits are supposed to be funny, Uncle Sam doesnt have a sense of Humour.

    ( or humor either )

  11. Trevor

    @ Tech correction

    First thought here was "What type o' Dong" are we talking about and isn't #2 always liquid fueled?

    TAE (yes, really)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me?

    But doesn't this thing seem about most useless thing USAF has tried to design since VTOL fighter with wheels in its tail in 1950's?

    In order for that thing to shoot down a missile, it has to be within 400 km of its launch site, right?

    In Iran, in order it to be within 400 km, it would had to be inside Iranian airspace. With a 747. A slow, large 747. Too easy to shoot down to qualify as a practice target.

    Only way this thing gets close enough to kill that ICBM is to have fighter-bombers to blast any air-defences in the area. But on the other hand, if you know you are going to start shooting, why not just send those bombers straight to the launch-sites and blast them with GPS-guided bombs (which BTW don't care weather it is liquid- or solid-fuel type)? After all, if you shoot his air-defences, he could panic and launch and this toy would still be outside firing range.

    Even in Korea these things would be hard pressed to be close enough to hit ICBM's launched from bases near Yalu-river and still be outside air-defence radius. Couple of air-to-air missiles from coast or ships timed with launch of ICBMs and pilots of these things would be evading missiles with planes that don't have the airframe for the job, while ballistics would arc towards their targets.

    In China and Russia these things wouldn't get within 1'000, let alone 400 km of ICBM launch sites.

    In short, I thing these things are big, clumsy and useless.

    I challenge anyone to present a scenario, where these things are better missile-defence system than single B-2 with GPS-guided weaponry.

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