Some of the coolest non-conventional weapons being developed now are lasers, and when you make a gigantic laser strapped to a 747, you've won the whole contest right there. This "directed energy weapon" consists of a "megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser beam," which can be pointed at other planes, missiles or hobbitses on the ground. It's a shame that the budget's been cut.

There've been 70 successful firings on the ground, and the laser should be enough to destroy "many" missiles depending on how fast the 747 can reach firing distance. The eventual goal is to have the laser planes—each worth a cool $1.5 billion—make up the US' laser plane fleet.

Political battles over the Airborne Laser [Crave via Sci Fi]