Something called a “laser”…

Defense sector warns of Chinese laser-cannon threat

A reader sends me this link to the Taipei Times. It seems that Taiwanese intel thinks China has developed a laser cannon capable of hitting the nation from the mainland.

Intelligence shows that the laser cannon might be able to paralyze the command and control systems of the military which are concentrated in the western parts of the country.

In response, the military has requested a NT$1 billion fund for preparations against potential laser attacks from China in the future.

Let me guess. The company that analyzes the intel is owned by the same guys that own the company that builds anti-laser defenses.

C’mon, guys.

They aren’t sure if the weapon is operational or not.

“One version goes that the weapon is still under development. Another is that the weapon has already been deployed across the Taiwan Strait and that there are around 20 units in service,” the official said.

“We tend to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We would rather believe that China has already developed such a weapon and that we should start making preparations as soon as possible,” he said.

“He” is an unnamed defense official. If I were Taiwan, I’d watch “him” to make sure he doesn’t get named to the board of directors of the primary beneficiaries of the NT$1 billion fund after suddenly retiring in six months to a year.

A google turns up no other leads (well, okay, a story about Miss Ireland–but I don’t think it’s related) so MO is writing this one off.

Of course, you remember the rumor of the Chinese “supertank” last May. Take a look at my estimate of the “supertank’s” configuration and note what the main armament appears to be. Hmmm.

UPDATE: Naaaaah.


  1. reported some months back that a US helicopter flying near the DMZ in Korea was very strongly painted by a laser. The speculation is that the Chinese, who’ve been talking about a battle-ready laser that can disrupt electronic devices, was playing cute and gave one to the North Koreans for testing. Plausible deniability, dontchya know. Thought you might like to know that it failed to do anything of any note except to make the crew of the helicopter say ‘I wonder why North Korea is shining that laser on us?’ So far as asking for money to build defenses for a weapon that doesn’t exist, the CIA and other US intelligence services would do the same thing to Congress during the Cold War. They would play up all these black projects the Soviets had going, saying that they were the best metallurgists on the planet and all. They did this so many times, talking about secret armor development programs while never being able to get their hands on a sample, that the stuff was called ‘Unobtainium’. So the Taiwanese are just showing some free market initiative. Soak the government and all. James

  2. I had totally forgotten about that incident, but you’re completely right. Great catch. I wrote my post sort of tongue-in-cheek, and I’m not suggesting ignoring claims that potential enemies might be more powerful than common ‘widsom’ would indicate. Remember that so many in America were genuinely surprised that Japan had warplanes made of METAL instead of rice paper? So I’m not dismissing this claim, but I guess I’d like to see a little more evidence (which I’m sure people are working on as we speak) before going all alarmist. Thanks for reminding everyone about the laser-painting incident! Shiver…