Wired! Magazine: Welcome to the World, Drone-Killing Laser Cannon

August 27, 2015
Wired! Magazine article about Boeing’s directed energy weapon, featuring Advanced EO’s compact modular gimbal (CMG)...

“HANG ON TO your drone. Boeing's developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage.

“The aerospace company's new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn't quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars — there's no flying beams of light, no ‘pew! pew!’ sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down.

“People keep flying their drones where they shouldn't. In airport flight paths. Above wildfires. Onto the White House lawn… Boeing thinks the best way to kill a drone is to zap it with a precision laser, burn a hole in it, and bring it down. So it created a weapon system to do just that — and the result could someday be installed everywhere from LaGuardia to the Pentagon.

“Instead of a massive laser mounted on a dedicated truck, the compact system is small enough to fit in four suitcase-sized boxes and can be set up by a pair of soldiers or technicians in just a few minutes. At the moment, it's aimed primarily at driving drones away from sensitive areas.

“The new system is more scalpel than sledgehammer. Its laser, and, especially, the off-the-shelf gimbal (a fancy motor that can aim the laser and camera in any direction) it's mounted on, make it precise enough to target different parts of a UAV. Want to zap the tail so it crashes and then you can go retrieve the mostly intact drone and see who is trying to spy on you? Can do. Think it's carrying explosives and you want to completely destroy it? No problem. Boeing wouldn't get specific on its range, but company reps suggested that if you can see a target, even with binoculars, you can kill it.”

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