Apparently, the Pentagon is seeking a way to take over the control systems of enemy planes; it is described as a system of “pulsed laser[s]” on the tip of an airplane, used to “externally control the steering forces” of a foe’s aircraft, in order to “divert [it] from restricted area.”
Unfortunately, I don't have much more information than that to go on. Fortunately, like any science fiction fan, I do have my imagination... and my readers' memories of writer's ideas.
Fans of Tom Swift may recall the landing forcer from the 1954 novel Tom Swift and his Rocket Ship:
Each of the pilotless jets carried an amazing mechanism called the landing forcer, an invention of Tom's. This instrument, directed from a beeper box in the control tower, could capture and steer intruding planes to Fearing's airstrip.
I wonder if Pentagon interest in this idea has picked up since the mysterious crash of the drone airship that strayed over the border into Iran. Speculation continues that this was really a capture, and not an accident:
Thursday, the Christian Science Monitor published an interview with an Iranian engineer who claims that Iran managed to jam the drone’s communication links to American operators by forcing it to shift into autopilot mode. With its communications down, the drone allegedly kicked into autopilot mode, relying on GPS to fly back to base in Afghanistan. With the GPS autopilot on, the engineer claims Iran spoofed the drone’s GPS system with false coordinates, fooling it into thinking it was close to home and landing into Iran’s clutches.
(Wired Danger Room)
Science fiction fans' minds might be wandering to the incident in which the Enterprise crew successfully took over another spacecraft in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan by using a hidden prefix code.
Via Wired; thanks to Winchell Chung at Project Rho for the tip and reference (thanks also to Moira, for a submission last year about the capture of the combat drone! You thought I forgot about it...)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/4/2012)