Raytheon and Northrop Grumman making progress on frickin' lasers

Face it, living out your childhood Spaceman Spiff-esque fantasies with Nerf guns just isn't cutting it anymore; what you need is a laser gun, and on the double. Lucky for you, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are honing in on weapons-grade laser designs of their own, with Raytheon claiming recent tests were successful detonating 60mm mortars, while Northrop Grumman is gearing up a new "directed energy production facility" for cranking out high-power laz0rs -- and we're sure they'll let you borrow a few if you just ask politely. Right now, weapons-grade is defined as 100kw, a mark neither manufacturer has reached yet, and there's a slight lack of clarity as to exactly how fancy Raytheon's current system is, since it esploded a non-moving target at 550 yards, which is possible for lots of lasers given enough time. Northrop Grumman is a bit more forthcoming with the facts, like crystal shrinkage to the tune of 50%, which should help make these things small and rugged enough for field use, but they won't be ready to demonstrate 100kw in action until the end of next year.