'Star Wars' becomes reality as US unveils laser-equipped 747
Roxana Hegeman / london Independent | October 29 2006
Remember Ronald Reagan's Star Wars programme? The futuristic and frightening plan to build laser guns that could shoot down enemy missiles? Well, it's about to start becoming a reality.
On Friday, the US Missile Defense Agency rolled out an airborne laser aircraft, the latest development in a missile-defence system that was once ridiculed as a Star Wars-style fantasy.
In a ceremony at Boeing's integrated defence systems facility in Wichita, the agency announced it was ready to flight test systems on the ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F designed to destroy enemy missiles.
Its director, General Henry "Trey" Obering III,evoked the Jedi Knights vs Evil Empire saga. "I believe we are building the forces of good to beat the forces of evil ... We are giving the American people their first light sabre."
He added: "This is not the prettiest aircraft I have seen. It is not supposed to be pretty. It is supposed to be mean."
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