You may think that the Navy's just the baby brother to the two other US Armed Forces, but its weapon development record definitely shows otherwise. Just over two years after building an 8-Megajoule railgun, the branch has penned two $7 million checks to defense contractors Boeing and Raytheon for the design and development of a free-electron laser (FEL). For what it's worth, such a device has been yearned for since a day after the dawn of time, as unlike chemical-based lasers, the FEL would be 100 percent electric and easier to move. For those unaware,this stormy petrel of a weapon would be used to blast down missiles in mid-flight, all while putting on a pretty impressive light show. 'Course, the Navy must also figure out how to build a massive energy generating ship in order to use it, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here, okay?

[Image courtesy of AIP]