DARPA testing planes with a 'Star Wars'-style laser cannon

We don't have X-wing fighters just yet, but we may soon have their laser weapons. DARPA is working on a system that's downright Lucasian.

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A prototype laser turret attached to a test aircraft. There were no reports of actual pew pew! Air Force Research Laboratory

Prepare yourself for a future filled with real-life pew pew! The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working with Lockheed Martin to test "a new beam control turret... to give 360-degree coverage for high-energy laser weapons operating on military aircraft."

In other words, it stuck a primitive (by rebel standards) "Star Wars"-style laser cannon on a fighter jet and flew it over Michigan eight times.

"These initial flight tests validate the performance of our ABC turret design," Lockheed's Doug Graham said. in a release.

That ABC stands for Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control, which is designed to allow high-energy lasers to fire on enemy aircraft and missiles from a full 360 degrees -- above, below, and behind the aircraft.

The test flights demonstrated the airworthiness of the turret, but it doesn't appear that anyone or anything in the Great Lakes region was actually zapped as part of testing.

Still, this represents a significant move toward the inevitable merging of the "Star Wars" universe with our own so-called "reality." We've already seen the Navy's laser weapon that's set to deploy, and science has discovered how to create a real-life lightsaber, so perhaps it would be wise to start scanning the galaxies not just for potentially habitable exoplanets, but for planet-size super weapons as well.

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