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Ray Gunners Make Deals

Things are looking up for real-life ray gun firm Ionatron, Gene Inger and Defense Industry Daily both say.plasma_tank_cropped.jpgThe Tuscon company has linked up with DRS Technologies, which, among other things, is handling some of the big power and battle management systems on the Army's next generation of combat vehicles. Gene sees this as a "major door opener" to get Ionatron's man-made lightning bolts aboard the Army's tanks and fighting vehicles of the future.But as is often the case with Ionatron, there's something not quite right here. The company has been attracting attention recently for its "Joint IED Neutralizer," a golf cart-type contraption which uses lasers and electrical bursts to blow up improvised bombs. Several JINs have been ordered up for Iraq.But the DRS/Ionatron announcement makes no mention of this. Instead, it talks about using Ionatron's technology as a "directed-energy weapon" -- one that could be used in "defense applications relating to shipping ports and dockside protection." Similarly, the anti-bomb mission got a short shrift during a recent segment on Al Haig's infomercial program. All the talk by Ionatron execs and their cohorts was about how they could "taser people at a distance" and "disable terrorists" -- oh, and how Congress needed to cook up "legislation that authorizes" more funds for Ionatron-esque technologies.UPDATE 12:15 PM: Gene writes in to remind us that "the JIN product (which may come along) is not [Ionatron's] core technology; as [CEO] Tom Dearmin has frequently stated... He has said JIN was a spin-off in no way contemplated by the company, but done at the behest of the" Pentagon.

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