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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Boeing gets laser contract, raygun next?

A news release from Boeing today sounds like it came from a video game.

The company said it received a $4.2 million contract to develop a 25-kilowatt “high-brightness” laser as part of a larger Pentagon effort to build a high-power, solid-state energy weapon.

A Boeing team in Albuquerque will tweak off-the-shelf, industrial lasers used for cutting and welding. The 16-month “thin disc laser” or TDL project “could lead to the development and production of operational versions of the laser system.”

From the release:

“A high-power, solid-state directed energy weapon has the ability to damage, disable or destroy targets at the speed of light, with little to no collateral damage. The laser also can flexibly support missions on the battlefield as well as in urban operations.”

Maybe they’ll call it the TDL 9000.

Here’s an Air Force image of a 2009 test of Boeing’s prototype mobile laser weapons system, which tracked and blasted an unmanned aerial vehicle:

UAV+on+fire---50+percent.jpg

Here’s a similar system in action, as depicted in “Halo Reach”:

highlands_002.jpg

Comments | More in | Topics: Boeing, Games & entertainment

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