Pew pew: Boeing's laser truck powers up

Lasers are the future. Of everything. From food to medicine to rainbows, lasers can do it all. As every science fiction movie ever will attest to, the absolute coolest thing that lasers can do, of course, is blow stuff up, and this is why Boeing is making a truck into a mobile laser weapon system.

This eight-wheel, 500-horsepower Oshkosh HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) has already been modified by Boeing with a beam control system — which is that laser turret thing on top — along with tracking and targeting hardware and software. The only missing piece is the laser itself, and Boeing has just reached an agreement with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command to shove a ten-kilowatt solid-state laser system into it, making the HEL MD (that would be, High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator) fully armed and operational.

Over the next year, Boeing will practice using the HEL MD to pop a bunch of different "threat-representative" targets, which will likely include things like rocket, artillery and mortar projectiles, and not things like tanks, planes and humans. Ten kilowatts is about ten times less power than what's generally accepted as the power a weapons-grade laser really needs, but this is just a demonstrator. When high-power lasers eventually become available, Boeing will be able to shove them into the back of the HEL MD and start fulfilling all of our Command and Conquer fantasies.

Boeing, via CNET

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