Not gonna lie, probably wouldn't wave my hand in front of it for less than $20.
Seen here looking at least partially constructed out of tin-foil, the Navy has made a breakthrough in the laser department, creating a free-electron laser (FEL) capable of producing a sustained 500 kilovolt beam OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION (the previous record was 320kV, and four years ago was an embarrassing 10kV). Which, while impressive, is nowhere near as badass as the 1,100kV laser I'm working on. "Uh, did you invent that just so you could say, 'TURN IT UP TO ELEVEN...HUNDRED'?" Yes, yes I turn it up to 1,100% did.
The new technology will allow the Navy to utilize the powerful "death ray" to burn up incoming missiles or punch holes in an enemy vessel's hull.
"Five hundred [kilovolts] has been the project goal for a long time," says George Neil, the FEL associate director at Jefferson Labs. "The injector area is one of the critical areas."
The free-electron laser is one the U.S. Navy's highest-priority weapons programs. The future of weaponry rests in "fighting at the speed of light and hypersonics," says Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, the Navy's chief of research. "We're fast approaching the limits of our ability to hit maneuvering pieces of metal in the sky with other maneuvering pieces of metal."
So, give it to me straight: is a superlaser capable of burning through 20-feet of steel a second covered under my second amendment right to bear arms? Kidding -- why would I want bear arms?! They'd probably be covered in honey and bee stings!
Hit the jump for a 6:45 dozer of a video about the technology.
Thanks to Kaz, Gunnit and Baily, who agree the key to defeating a superlaser is sneaking up from behind and beating the shit out of it with a steel pipe.