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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Get Ready: Laser Weapons Are Almost Here

Laser Weapon System (LaWS)May 1977 saw the premiere of an epic tale in which an evil empire deployed powerful directed-energy weapons in its quest for total domination.

Star Wars was first shown in the same month, but Aviation Week’’s serial scoops on the Soviet Union’s supposed development of laser-based missile defenses were a hit in their own right.

Inspired by ultra-hawkish Maj. Gen. George Keegan, just retired as chief of U.S. Air Force intelligence, they suggested that the Soviets were preparing to end the Cold War on their own terms—by threatening the West with destruction from behind a laser-powered shield. Within a few years, the Star Wars title had been co-opted for the Pentagon’s own Strategic Defense Initiative.

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