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Northrop Offers Laser "Shield" For Airports

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Northrop Grumman says it has developed a laser-based system -- a laser "bubble" -- that can knock just about any kind of airborne threat out of the air within a five-mile radius of an airport and is effective against shoulder-fired missiles up to 20 miles away. And, once it starts selling the systems in quantity, it's predicting a fully-installed price of "only" $25 million to $30 million, which it claims will be popular at airports in countries that are having neighborhood disputes, such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. "If it goes that [price] path, it's a very large market," Northrop spokesman Dan Wildt told Reuters. The first systems might cost as much as $200 million and will be available in about 18 months. Wildt said the laser "bubble" will destroy "rockets, mortars, artillery shells, unmanned aerial vehicles, short-range ballistic missiles, as well as cruise missiles," according to the Reuters story. So, we can imagine the short work it would make of, say, an errant Cessna 150 over Washington. Israel is reported to be working on development of the system with Northrop Grumman.

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