Barrack Obama may cancel funding for US laser warplane to save costs

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London, Dec 24 (ANI): If reports are to be believed, after assuming office, US President-elect Barack Obama's administration may cancel funding for a new technology to be used in a US warplane that fires lasers at the enemy, in a bid to save costs in a recession hit economy.

Known as the Airborne Laser (ABL) weapons programme, the system aims to send an invisible, ultra-powerful laser beam from aircraft hundreds of miles from their targets, and could one day alter the nature of aerial warfare.

Primarily designed to strike enemy missile silos, the US Missile Defence Agency has called the ABL the answer to "rogue states" or terror groups equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The first, very limited, a successful test firing was staged in late November this year.

The laser was loaded on to a Boeing 747 and fired from a stationary plane at a target on the ground just a few yards away.

But, according to a report in the Telegraph, ABL's developers, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman fear that the technology could fall victim to US President-elect Barrack Obama's new administration as it seeks to save costs.

ABL is already 12 years in the making and way over budget at 4.3 billion dollars (2.9 billion pounds).

Mike Rinn, head of Boeing's Airborne Laser programme, has indirectly pleaded for leniency from the Obama administration.

"We remain on track to complete a lethal demonstration in 2009," he said. "There's nothing like flaming missile wreckage to show the world the system is viable," he added.

"It's important that we keep this momentum going for this critical technology," he further added.

Boeing is now planning to develop the weapon's planned target range to include aircraft and enemy ballistic missiles in flight. (ANI)

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