Does this sound like a NeoCon dream, or what? We at the Daily Galaxy have absolutely nothing bad to say about the US Air Force's plans for an airborne, invisible, untrackable long distance laser death system. And if you know what's good for, neither do you.
The idea of laser guns is as old as science fiction itself, and like many things that eventually made it into the real world the practical version is a little different from the fantasy. You can't see laser blasts shooting around the place - for one thing it uses infra-red light, so unless you're the Predator you're out of luck, and for another it turns out that laser beams move at the speed of light. Who could have guessed?
Another slight handicap is the fact the system weight 5.5 tonnes, so unless you're Arnold Schwarzenegger (in the 80s) it's not the sort of thing you can mount on a pistol grip and fire at people. The system trades portability for power - the huge weight consists of a huge chemical laser system, big enough to pack a punch but still small enough to fit in, say, a C-130 Hercules transport.
Most ominous (and ironic) is how USAF chief engineers and directors have been using the phrase "plausible deniability". Since the laser doesn't leave any shell fragments, debris or even have to be the same square mile as the target, the user could conceivably deny all knowledge of why a politically unpopular person suddenly caught fire. Or at least, they could if they weren't already on record talking about their cool multi-million dollar airborne laser system and how it can do exactly that.
Posted by Luke McKinney.