You spot an IED from a Predator or the guy on point spots it. An armored vehicle rolls up and zaps it with a laser, blowing the sucker up. No one has to don a suit or get out of a vehicle. Neat, huh?
It's not often that we'll respond to a plain old company press release but Boeing has tested just such a laser system that looks as if it could really make a difference to troops in the field today.
If it's far enough along to actually rumble over broken terrain, fire and be maintained in the field this is the sort of weapon that could help change the balance The company completed a test in late September of the Laser Avenger combat vehicle. Its laser zapped 50 IEDs "similar to those used by adversaries in war zones." (Their press people could have just said Quds, AQI and Taliban, but...)
"The system operated at safe distances from the targets and under a variety of conditions, including different angles and ranges. Soldiers traveling with Laser Avenger would not have to get out of their armored vehicles or wait for an explosive ordnance disposal team to destroy an IED and continue their mission," the release says. Now that is something to move to the field as soon as practicable
The test was sponsored by the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).We contacted them to find out if the system is anywhere near ready to go into the field and they declined to comment, saying to do so might give away tactics, techniques and procedures. A Boeing spokesman said a "system like this" could be fielded in one year "if funded."
The IED test follows demonstrations over the last two years when Laser Avenger shot down small unmanned aerial vehicles.