Boeing is firing off laser weapon press releases and news at almost the speed of light these days. In June we brought you word that the company had successfully test fired its thin-disk laser, the most powerful solid-state laser ever made at 25 kilowatts (100 kilowatt theoretical maximum). This week, Boeing took the chance to brag about its US$36 million contract extension for the U.S. Army's High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD). If you're unfamiliar with the HEL TD, here's the short version: more laser weapons.
The good news for peaceniks is the U.S. Army doesn't think mission-ready laser weapons will arrive until at least 2016, and even then the systems will be limited use (Doomsday delayed again! Hooray!).
That hasn't stopped G.I. Joe-type development from going forward, however. In addition to the aerial laser tested in June and the missile-targeting, ground-based HEL TD, Boeing is also working on the Laser Avenger. The Avenger is a Humvee-mounted laser weapon system designed to target small ground targets like roadside bombs, IEDs, and, let's face it folks, people. We just hope they aren't wearing Imperial Stormtrooper armour at that time—that shit is worthless! [CNET]