Ever seen the movie “Real Genius”? It is described by IMDB as “Two brilliant teenagers head a team of young geniuses developing a laser for what they believe is a class project. When they find out that their professor intends to turn their work over to the government for use as a weapon [mounted in a large aircraft–ed], they decide to ruin his plans.”
Well, it looks like the big boys of the DOD and Boeing like this movie! I have a clipping from a newspaper (source and date unknown) with a newsfeed from USA Today that describes this exact scenario:
Boeing gets OK to build laser-armed 747
By Shannon Tangonan
Boeing Defense Space Group Tuesday won a $1.1 billion contract to build the Air Force a laser-armed warplane capable of shooting down ballistic missiles.
Air Force chief of staff Gen. Ronald Fogelman said the laser, to be mounted on a Boeing 747 jet, is "truly revolutionary." It's known as the YAL-1A, or Attack Laser Aircraft.
The Boeing team's prototype will be tested around 2002.
A fleet of as many as seven 747s equipped with lasers could be airborne as early as 2008. They will be able to fire high-energy beams of light that would burn up missiles such as the Scuds used in the Persian Gulf war, the Air Force said.
The laser technology could defend against ballistic missiles that launch cluster bombs too small for the USA's Patriot missiles to hit, said John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists.
North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya are among nations with limited capability to launch such missiles.
The Air Force has clear reason for the laser, said Pike, but he questions spending so much on an experiment.
"To get it to work you need a laser 1,000 times more powerful than the ones built so far, and you better hope for good weather," he said, noting laser beams cannot penetrate clouds. "Maybe it'll work on a clear day."
Does this scare you??? It should! Do note that a weapon like this can be used for more than just defensive purposes. A laser like that with good optical tracking systems can be used for assasinations and selective destruction of any ground based target imaginable. For that matter, what good is having only seven of these jets if they are to be used for defense? you’d need a lot more than that to properly defend anything with considerable area (i.e. the U.S.), so it sounds to me like a production run of only seven is more of an offensive planning than anything…
Well Val, I loved your movie… But the truth scares the shit out of me.