Airborne laser brings down missiles in flight

But America can only afford one airborne laser right now, thanks

Uh, that shape should really be used to celebrate fertility, not airborne laser death… (Photo:

Downsizing is the name of the game for too many Americans these days. Even airborne lasers have been scaled back, which should set Dr. Evil’s plans back a spell. At least he still has a fleet of sharks.

But all is not lost when it comes to Star Wars weaponry. For you see, according to CNET, the Airborne Laser Testbed team successfully tested their ultra-powerful airborne laser yesterday against a ballistic missile. Perhaps Iran was paying attention. Multiple targets taken down from hundreds of kilometers away makes for a noteworthy accomplishment. And the airborne laser is much more powerful than this:

But the Pentagon only has money for one right now

The airborne laser is mounted on a modified Boeing 747-400F, and currently there is only one of them. Defense Secretary Robert Gates simply can’t justify writing a check for more at the moment. So we’ll have to be content with having just one of “the most powerful mobile laser devices in the world,” according to Boeing. To be precise, it’s actually two lasers: a Track Illuminator and a Beacon Illuminator. They’re both kilowatt-class, solid-state lasers.

As long as we scramble the plane to the right place at the right time

Ay, therein lies the rub. Since the U.S. currently has only one airborne laser (a problem no online cash advance can solve), that plane would be very busy in the event of missile strikes from multiple locations. Secretary Gates is probably right when he calls the airborne laser program “highly questionable.” But let’s be honest: who doesn’t love the image of condors with “frickin’ laser beams” on their heads? It beats Dr. Evil’s shark force by a mile.

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