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Friday, August 27, 2004

The arms race is alive and well...

"Kamikazi Rocket Mouse" by Jeff de Boer
"No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow. What? Look, somebody's got to have some damn perspective around here. Boom, sooner or later. BOOM!" - Susan Ivanova (Babylon 5 episode "Grail")
The "death ray" has long been a staple of science-fiction. The military has long wanted one, presumably since the days of Nikola Tesla. Looks like they might be on their way to having one:
The Tactical High Energy Laser, built by Northrop Grumman for the US Army, shot down multiple mortar rounds Aug. 24, proving that laser weapons could be applied on the battlefield to protect against common threats.

In tests representative of actual mortar threat scenarios, the THEL testbed destroyed both single mortar rounds and mortar rounds fired in a salvo at White Sands Missile Range, NM.
Of course, the military may be jumping the gun (sorry!) a little. "Tests representative" do not necessarily translate into eventual success under "real world" conditions, as the spectacular failure of the M247 Sergeant York should remind us.