Feeds

Pentagon's raygun-packing 747 to visit DC

Jumbo wants pork

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The Airborne Laser, the US Missile Defence programme's raygun-equipped jumbo jet, is to visit Washington tonight in an attempt to drum up support on Capitol Hill.

Airborne Laser aircraft

The Airborne Laser aircraft, intended to explode ICBMs shortly after liftoff.

The Missile Defence Agency says (pdf) the flying energy-weapon platform will fly into Andrews airforce base outside DC from its normal home at Edwards AFB in California. The 747 is expected to make a night landing, before being shown off to politicos, officials, and the media. It will return to the west coast on 21 June.

The Airborne Laser is a modified Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft intended to use a Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) to destroy a hostile ballistic missile during the highly-vulnerable "boost phase" of its trajectory — the first few minutes after it is launched.

Missiles in boost are full of pressurised explosive fuel, so even a relatively feeble zapping could cause them to explode. Also, attacking a multiple-warhead ICBM at this point will take out all its re-entry vehicles in one shot.

The idea is that the 747's advanced tracking lasers will first locate the target missile before the "primary directed energy weapon" fires up. According to the Missile Defence Agency (MDA), "the chemical laser has had more than 70 successful firings over the past three years, and will be installed aboard the aircraft later this year in preparation for the first shootdown of a ballistic missile target in mid-2009."

Before that happens, however, the missile defence lads need a whole lot of cash to keep the project going - hence the visit to Washington. Democrats in DC have tended to see the jumbo-blaster as risky business at best, foolish sci-fi-in-the-sky at worst, and have previously exhorted the MDA to focus on shorter-term, more basic missile-busting gear. Congress recently lopped 45 per cent off an airborne laser funding request, and the Senate will be looking at defence cash soon.

The Airborne Laser may need to put on a good show tomorrow if it's to make that 2009 deadline. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.