The U.S. Congress has approved an allocation of $57 million for the critical stage of the development of the Nautilus laser anti-rocket technology. Nautilus is a joint Israeli-U.S. project that turns fantasy into reality: Katyusha rockets detected by radar can be destroyed in mid-air by a Nautilus-system laser beam. Israel's Defense Ministry, together with American defense experts, began working on the project several years ago, and four years ago ran successful tests in the deserts of New Mexico. Israel, which is to pay "matching funds" for the project, is threatened by over 10,000 Hizbullah rockets on its northern border. AP reports that there is no public record of congressional approval for Nautilus funding, and that it may fall under the classified portion of the 2004 Defense Authorization bill.
In a related item, the IDF and the Defense Ministry are currently considering purchasing a new Israeli weapon, known as the Corner Shot. The new weapon is a rifle that can "turn corners," i.e., it turns right or left on an axis, thus that it can be fired from around a corner. The user is thus able to hide out of sight even as he fires at his chosen target. A video camera and a screen allow the user to "see" the target and fire accordingly. Police and special anti-terror forces have already purchased the new Israeli-developed gun.
Wow! Technology at its best, or its worst?