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March 13, 2003

Lasy Boy Normally another bunny

Lasy Boy

Normally another bunny blogs about the weapons systems, but the Airborne Laser System has been at the back of my mind since a mixed group of B-52's and B-1's were deployed to Guam last week, for use in case North Korea decided to act up while U.S. forces were busy in Iraq. That announcement, combined with the evident insouciance of the Bush administration about North Korean missile launches and a vague recollection of some sort of aircraft mounted laser system all combined to make me wonder if the announcement was a cover for the deployment of the system.

I was wrong, or at least probably wrong, as Google showed me pretty quickly. First of all, the laser is mounted on a modified Boeing 747 rather than a B-52, B-1B or one of our bat-winged harbingers of war. Second, the main laser supposedly hasn't been delivered yet, though the targeting laser has. Given the current situation, I don't think anyone would make an announcement if it was delivered ahead of schedule, and the timeline mentioned in the Popular Science article is not the same as the original one, which had the system undergoing its final tests in 2003, though this may have been due to budget difficulties.

Almost certainly the system has been given a much higher priority since the escalation of the Korean crisis, if it already hadn't been bumped it up in the funding queue by the Bush administration. If what the Pop Sci article says is true, and the majority of the challenge is in integrating mature systems, then throwing money at the program could indeed speed up production dramatically. Integration of mature systems is an engineering challenge, not a scientific one, and engineering challenges are readily affected by large amounts of money.

The only rational thing to do is to assume that the published timeline is more or less correct, and that the system won't be deployed before 2008.

But that would be boring, so I've decided to be mostly irrational, with perhaps a touch of paranoia.

Zod: We'll be able to tell the difference how?
Hush, I'm too busy for you. Go back to looking at the NSFW links at Fark

So, for those of you still here, consider the news page at the Airborne Laser home site. Unupdated since July 18 , 2002. Or the events page, which is also still stuck in 2002, as is the milestones page. ( The Wichita flight testing has already been completed.) Finally, and most ominously, the
Program Plan page, which is being.....cue spooky music.....revised.

Here's another page with some decent pics of that 747, the YAL-1A.

Has anyone seen it lately?

Posted by Bigwig at March 13, 2003 04:52 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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