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US army to start using Star Wars-style laser guns within 7 years

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"Pew! Pew! Pew!" 

Wait - you mean real life laser canons don't actually make any sounds? And there aren't any red beams flying about?! But that makes this story at least... 40 per cent less cool.

Sound effects aside, it doesn't make the prospect of of the US military rolling around with lasers any less intimidating. 

Speaking to a House of Representatives subcommittee, US Army research and technology deputy assistant secretary Mary J Miller has stated that laser "weapons are scheduled to be developed and integrated into the Indirect Fire Protection Capability programme by 2023".

In plain English, that means the US military wants to use laser weapons systems as a counter to oncoming attacks and threats - including rockets, artillery and mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. 

"Lasers have been promised for a long time, but they've never held up and delivered what was asked for, so the operators are rightfully sceptical," said Miller. In previous forms, laser systems have required a huge amount of energy to create beam of photons powerful enough to do any damage. New technology in the form of optical fibres have now advanced things, making the tech a real possibility. "That's why the army is taking lasers out into operational environments and testing them."

To see their latest lasers in test scenarios, watch the following video from Boeing demonstrating a laser gun shooting down mortars in mid air. You'll have to add your own sound effects.

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