Boeing, purveyor of exceedingly large airplanes and defense systems, has won a $7 million contract to develop a truck-mounted laser beam that destroys rockets, artillery shells and mortar rounds. The aim is to build a preliminary design of a rugged beam control system on a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. I've suddenly got an image of Megatron riding Optimus Prime like Seabiscuit, and it's not going away.Known as the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) Phase I contract, the aim is to prove that a mobile, solid-state laser weapon system can vaporize incoming enemy fire. And, I hope, do a discreet bit of depilation on any soldiers who dare to be too hairy.
The aeronautics company is already at the vanguard of using laser technology for warfare, thanks to systems such as its Airborne Laser, Advanced Tactical Laser and the Tactical Relay Mirror System. But the VP and general manager of Boeing's Missile Defense Systems thinks that HEL TD could be the future of fighting. "We believe this is the next step for developing a weapon system that can change the face of the battlefield," he claims.