A real laser Cannon:

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It's real. Our company is involved the pretest predictions and post test analysis.

Hey I didn't say where I saw it. And besides, the program itself is not classified.

The first time I saw a Airborne Laser was up in Alaska, while I was still on active duty. They flew this one into Elemendorf for a few days: Airborne Laser
My engineering magazine did an article about them some time ago. Summary: Lasers are still too big and require too much energy to be of much military value. However the research continues to advance and remains promising.
The two current prototype airborne laser platforms are The 747 Airborne Laser (ABL) and the C-130 Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL). Both laser systems are Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Lasers (COIL). The existence of the programs is not classified, but naturally system specifications and capabilities are.





And to show there really nothing new under the sun...

A large Carbon Dioxide Gas Dynamic laser (CO2 GDL) was installed in a modified KC-135A AKA Airborne Laser Laboratory (ALL) in the 70's and tested in the 80's.



I've seen both the ALL and ATL up close, but haven't yet seen the ABL.

I have way too much fun playing with laboratory versions of these systems... ;)

Actually, lasers have been used in combat since the '80s.

Lasers Blinding Pilots

. . . don't ask me how I knew. ;)
While I have no reason to doubt that laser blinding has been employed in combat, the news paper article that you reference was based on the Defense Intelligenence Agencies' Soviet Military Power 1985 Report, an American propaganda document fraught with errors designed to garner public support of Regan's efforts to break the Soviet Union by fueling a very expensive arms race which in the end worked as he planned.


Time to buy was about 12 months ago. With the 787 coming on-line, fingers crossed, by the end of the year our prices will go up, along with the rest of the market.
Both laser systems are Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Lasers (COIL).

And some of the chemcals are really really really nasty. (You thought hydrazine was bad?) It's a good thing this will be a military program because if it was headed for a civilian/commercial application you would have a hard time finding volunteers to work in the vicinity of this stuff.

I wish I could say what other companies are working on...