Boeing's Making a Laser, but It's Not Dr. Evil-Ready Just Yet
October 9, 2012 at 9:33 AM
From winglets to entire 787s, we’re all about what Boeing engineers and designers are cooking up over at their headquarters. Usually the stuff that comes out of the design room and assembly line is primarily focused on things that head into the skies, but this latest Boeing innovation is intended to remain firmly on the ground—at least for now.
Boeing has been working on some new laser technology, and if all goes according to plan it just might be zapping bad guys before too long. What they’ve been working on is a ten-kilowatt—we’ll assume that’s a decent amount of power—solid state laser, and they’re calling it the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or "HEL MD" to its friends. The plan is to slap the thing on top of one of those Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and then you can kind of figure out what the thing will do next.
They’re working with—and for—the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command and of course there’s other defense contractors in the race to develop the first true laser beam to be used on the battle field. For now it looks like the next step after some of these tests will be more and more tests, as even Boeing—and Dr. Evil—admit that there will eventually be an option for a more powerful laser.
We’re pretty sure the laser beam department at Boeing is cubicles far from those of those of the Dreamliner, but it’s still kind of neat to see what they’re working on outside the immediate airplane business.
[Photo: Boeing via CNET]