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Boeing Successfully Tests Anti-Missile Laser 868

dankinit writes "MSNBC is reporting that a 'Boeing Co.-led team has successfully fired for the first time a powerful laser meant to fly aboard a modified 747 as part of a U.S. ballistic missile defense shield.' The test called 'First Light' has a budget of $474.3 million in the fiscal year 2005 and is part of a larger $10 billion dollar missile defense system."
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Boeing Successfully Tests Anti-Missile Laser

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  • The Official Site... (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_mighty_$ ( 726261 ) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @10:21PM (#10810240)
    The official site about this laser is here []
  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @10:48PM (#10810390) Journal
    "Yeah, well, that entire religion has hated us for the better part of 150 years. And in earnet since the end of World War II."

    Many portions of Isam feel that any other religion is inferior and almost sinful, and thus many hate Jews, Christians, etc. For instance, in the terrorst handbook thing the British found on a raid, there were discussions on why it is ok to torture. The basic idea was that Muslums are allowed to torture others because they are Gods children, while others are not allowed to.

    On the other hand, I just see this as the progression of a religion. Chrisianity went through the same thing where they killed off millions because they would not convert. Now most of the countries who are predominantly chrisian are more civilized and educated and the religion (chrisianity) has become more civilized and toned down as well. I hope Islam will do the same one day.
  • Re:Missile Defense (Score:5, Informative)

    by PPGMD ( 679725 ) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @10:51PM (#10810409) Journal
    This is not designed with US based ABM. Instead it's meant to be used over the battlefield, as a replacement for the Patriot missile system.
  • Re:honest question (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:11PM (#10810520)
    No surface is 100% reflective. Even at 99.99% reflectivity, the laser is just too intense. This is one of the problems mentioned in the article, that the focusing optics are too absorbant and they will overheat and melt at the required power levels. If your laser is melting pure glass, I'm pretty sure chrome(which would definitely have dust/water/ice on it in flight) would buy maybe a few nanoseconds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:13PM (#10810530)
    Check out how they blew up Korean Airlines 858 []

    Or how they kidnapped [] Japanese civlians.

    Or how they starve [] their own population.

    Or even how they test [] biochemical weapons on whole families [] - children and all: "The parents were vomiting and dying, but till the very last moment they tried to save kids by doing mouth to mouth breathing."

    Fuck those bastards. We should nuke them

    So yeah, they're crazy enough.

    Of all the evil regimes to be apologetic for, North Korea is about as bad as it gets. Anyone who defends them is objectively defending evil.

  • Re:Missile Defense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:15PM (#10810541)
    "The USSR is dead. North Korea has missiles..."

    *sigh* Wrong missiles.

    I haven't RTFL, but I do know off the top of my head that the ABL is intended for theater missiles, SRBMs instead of ICBMs (SCUDs, not Minutemen). And even then it's intended to hit the missile in the boost phase (while it's still launching, shows up like a flare in IR and is still loaded with lots of explosive fuel), which means the 747 would pretty much have to be flying over Pyongyang in order to stop a DPRK missile of any range.

    It's not National Missile Defense, it's air superiority with perks. It can't even catch an artillery shell, let alone a MIRV, nor is it intended to.
  • Re:honest question (Score:5, Informative)

    by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:17PM (#10810548)
    Good job posting as AC. :) To answer your question, yes. No mirror is 100% reflective, and the smallest heat absorption damages the mirror's finish and so you begin a very short and vicious loop.

    In a battle between armor and firepower, always bet on firepower.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:17PM (#10810555)
    We're giving 16 billion in 2004. And 15 billion over 5 years to Africa purely for AIDS. The world still sucks/hates us. 7. pdf
  • Re:Obvious question (Score:2, Informative)

    by mhotchin ( 791085 ) <> on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:32PM (#10810633)
    No reflective coating is *100%* reflective. Up the power enough, and whatever small fraction gets through will burn through the reflective coating, thereby allowing 100% of the beam to affect the object.

    Slashcode says this comment is a dupe. Slashcode should get over it.
  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:48PM (#10810696)

    We are technically at war with North Korea, and have been for 50 years now. The North Koreans are a major source of ballistic missile proliferation as they continue to develop and export a range of sophisticated missiles [] to nations such as Iran and Yemen. They have tested components [] for a missile capable of reaching the United States. They either have, or are close to having nuclear weapons. The North Koreas bought 12 decommissioned Soviet submarines [] and have used them to advance their technology [] and may deploy weapons on them.

    North Korea regularly threatens to attack the United States.

    To get a sense of the nature of the North Korean government you can just look at how they treat: orphans [], the US deserver [] who just returned after 40 years, the Japanese they kidnapped [] to teach their spies, and last, but not least, the victims of their gulag [].

    The North Koreans could teach lessons to the Iraqi Information Minister. They deny having dug the tunnels into South Korea [], some of which are big enough to drive vehicles. (A handy thing if you were of a mind to invade the South, no?) They no doubt also deny their regular attempts to infiltrate groups of agents [] into South Korea.

    The North Korean Army had million [] soldiers in it in 1992. The North Koreans have been willing to starve the population, significant numbers to death, in order to sustain the army.

    North Korea is a designated member of the "Axis of Evil."

    They seem like a bunch you might want to protect yourself against.

  • by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Saturday November 13, 2004 @11:55PM (#10810719)
    No that would be what the OP called "human aid". I can only assume "international/intercontinental relations" would be something different.

    As for the US not doing "nearly enough" that site you pointed me to showed me it's a gigantic waste of tax money and the US should be getting out of it entirely. My wife sponsors a child in Ecuador and the standard yearly contribution is about ten times what the US supposedly spends per capita. Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather reduce the tax burden and make more funds available to efficient private charities. At least with those you can verify what percentage of your money is actually going to programs (97% in this case).

  • Re:Missile Defense (Score:3, Informative)

    by EinarH ( 583836 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:15AM (#10810834) Journal
    Yeah, nice explananation for wasting money on this one when there are allready several projects on their way as replacement for the Patriot system. Like upgraded Patriot, THAADS, MEAADS and Arrow.
    And there are several others in theather systems as well that partially fill the same role as Patriot like upgraded HAWK combined/itegrated (or intdependand) with SL-AMRAAM/NASAMS, SM-2 and SM-3 AEGIS. Most of those projects are in the multi-billion dollar class.

    That's it? No, there is more.
    Like the Tactical high energy lasers and Boost Phase Intercept project and Kinetic energy Intercept. And what about all the different radars, sensors, sattelites, and whizbangs you'll need for each system if they can't use the same? And there are also alot of C4I/BM systems for all these projects. And thats only the in theather, land based, official projects. Not the NMD, all the space/air based or the black stuff.And that is only the systems I can remember right now as a non-military on a saturday night after a few beers..

    The reason I think this is unnecessary is not that I oppose spending money on in theather ballistic defense but because is such a wast compared to other things they could have spent the money on.
    So why don't you suck it up and admit that the defense contractors sucks dollars out of your wallet faster than you can say Boeing?

  • Re:Missile Defense (Score:3, Informative)

    by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:20AM (#10810858)
    As far as US intelligence/any intelligence whatsoever knows, North Korea doesn't have any nukes or missiles; they're trying to build them, but failing. They are incredibly far from missiles that can hit anywhere close to the US.

    The Taepodong-1 was launched over Japan in 1998. The Taepodong-2 is nearly functional, engine testing has already been performed. The TP2's range covers Alaska, Hawaii and parts of the west coast.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:27AM (#10810894)
    What about the crazy acts the US does all the time? Afghanistan, do you remember those newly weds who where bombed? Or in Iraq all that "free" people, or should I say free from peace, free from their own oil, in a constant state of chaos thanks to the all wonderful and good willed country called US...
    Please, think a little. First look at the atrocities carried out by your country and then speak of other places.
  • Re:Missile Defense (Score:5, Informative)

    by True Grit ( 739797 ) * <> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @05:51AM (#10811986)
    I believe they call that "steam rolled..."

    Thats not really an accurate assessment. Or rather, it is mostly accurate, but applies to all of Germany's early victims. Poland, France, Britian, the Low Countries, Norway, and Russia all had the same problem: no one knew how to fight the kind of new "maneuver warfare" that Germany was fighting (we all refer to it as "blitzkrieg" now, though ironically the German Army never called it that).

    Britian survived because she was an island, Russia (barely) survived because of her size and willingness to throw away Soviet lives by the thousands just to slow Germany down a little bit. Now France's military did have its own problems, the fatal reliance on a static defense is the primary one, because this form of defense is what "maneuver warfare" forever made obsolete. This flaw was not confined to just the French however.

    Now before the France bashers get to far gone on this thread, a few points (and I'm not French):

    First, France had more tanks than Germany did, and French tanks were actually *better* than their German counterparts. The German superiority in armor didn't start until 1943, after a rude and shocking insult in the form of the Soviet T-34 tank. France's problem, like everyone else, was they didn't concentrate their armor, they, and everyone else, still considered armor an infantry support vehicle and therefore spread it out among the troops on the front. In the face of Germany's concentrated armor, that was a fatal mistake.

    Second, France, although outnumbered in the air, did put up a ferocious fight. Most of the fight however was never seen as France relied on high altitude fighters for their defense, so most of the air-to-air war during the campaign was occuring too high for anyone else on the ground to know about it. Even French fighter pilots were frustrated afterward that so many of their own Frenchmen thought the Air Force had been destroyed or had stopped fighting so early in the battle. The truth was the French continued to fight in the air, but so high up, no one else knew they were there.
  • Bzzzt!!! wrong! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2004 @09:55AM (#10812577)
    Switzerland's defense budget in 2002 was $3.3 billion, they have 3,500 troops, and have even bought US made F/A-18 Hornets.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:05PM (#10813067)
    A "dirty bomb" is not a nuke.

    A "dirty bomb" is a bunch of conventional explosives and some form of radioactive material. The bomb goes off and spreads radiation in a small area.

    A suitcase nuke is a small nuke. It can level a city.

    A "dirty bomb" only spreads radioactive material in the immediate blast area. Then it relies upon wind to blow it further. The further it goes, the less risk there is from it. Eventually, it is only slightly higher than regular background radiation.

    Also, the radioactive material after the blast is just the dust. This will be cleaned after the first rain. The rain will concentrate the dust in areas the rain normally concentrates in. The sewers or the rivers or the oceans.

    Also, the radiation damage usually does not show up in people for years. Then they get cancer earlier and at a higher percentage than the rest of the population.

    Dirty bombs are not really any threat to anyone. They require additional material that can be detected and they don't give much more destructive capabilities.
  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Sunday November 14, 2004 @12:22PM (#10813143)
    "In fact, one of the BBs sunk at Pearl Harbor was also named USS South Dakota, a sister ship of the USS Arizona."

    Sorry, that is incorrect. r. htm#sd-cl
    South Dakota
    B-49 - BB 49
    Laid down by New York Navy Yard 15 March 1920 . Designation BB 49 assigned 17 July 1920. Suspended 8 February 1922 when 30.5% complete; cancelled under the Washington Treaty 17 August 1922; stricken 25 October 1923, and scrapped by 15 November 1923. wi i.htm#sd-cl
    Built by New York SB, Camden, NJ. Laid down 5 July 1939, launched 7 June 1941, commissioned 20 March 1942.

    Operated in the Pacific through most of WWII, mainly in support of the fast carrier forces, and some shore bombardment duty. Sustained moderate damage in a night gun action with the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima and escorting cruisers off Guadalcanal, 15 November 1942; overhaul and repairs at New York Navy Yard completed February 1942. Operated in the Atlantic, with the Royal Navy, February-August 1943, then returned to the Pacific. Received minor bomb damage 19 June 1944. Final light armament was 17 quad 40mm AA and 73 single 20mm AA.

    Decommissioned to reserve 31 January 1947. Stricken for disposal 1 June 1962, sold 25 October 1962, and subsequently scrapped. /h istory/pearlharbor_facts.html

    "Don't forget that the US (and most of the armed world) was still under the Washington Treaty at that time," ea ty ml
    The treaty was voided in 1936 by Japan
    Treaty Between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan, Signed at Washington, February 6, 1922

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