Ricochet Laser

The USAF Research Lab does some interesting work, and this one is certainly no exception: the Aerospace Relay Mirror System (ARMS). A unit of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems is working on the project and they had a very successful test last month:

The demonstration, conducted recently at U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory facilities at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., used a half-scale version of a strategic relay mirror payload that ultimately could be packaged and carried to high altitudes on airships, long-endurance aircraft or spacecraft. The payload could be used with airborne, ground-based or sea-based high-energy lasers to destroy ballistic missiles and other targets. Relay mirror systems will greatly enhance laser weapon system performance by reducing the atmosphere’s effects on laser beams and extending their range beyond line of sight.




Reminds me of an old Hanna-Barbera character called "Ricochet Rabbit," who would ping-ping-ping around the Old Southwest, where he was a sheriff — backed up by deputy Droop-a-long, who was not nearly as fast.

But this is the real deal, as described by defensetech.org last winter:

Lasers can only zap as far as the eye can see. The beams don’t curve, so ray guns can’t reach over the horizon. The Defense Department’s Office of Force Transformation wants to change that, however, with a world-wide ring of giant mirrors, that would bounce laser light to wherever the Pentagon saw fit.

This test advances their development, hopefully toward eventual adaptation to communications targets, as opposed to the other kind.