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Farnborough International Air Show: Supersonic car, anti-aircraft laser debut

The supersonic car 'Bloodhound' was unveiled Monday at the Farnborough International Air Show in Britain. Up in the air, the forthcoming Boeing Dreamliner 787 and the Airbus A400M grabbed eyes.

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"The Americans are interested," Louis Gallois, chief executive of Airbus' parent company EADS, told BBC News. "They do not have an aircraft with the same capabilities."

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This Airbus is unique, says Knowles, because of its composite material. Stronger and lighter than today’s metal hulls, the material will allow planes to lower cabin pressure, reducing strain on passengers and requiring less fuel to lift off the ground.

Send in the drones

Among other notable technology presented, a new anti-aircraft laser and, for the first time at this air show, drones.

US-based firm Raytheon says its Phalanx Laser Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) produces a 50-kilowatt beam that can be used against UAV, mortar, rockets, and small surface ships. Raytheon debuted a black-and-white video that shows its laser shooting down a drone over the Pacific Ocean.

Scientific American reports that the laser will be installed on an operational Navy ship for additional testing.

And inside a huge indoor hall, drones are making their debut at the Farnborough International Air Show. An indoor obstacle course will demonstrate the maneuverability and agility of the different models available on the market today, according the air show organizers.

Drones on display include: BAE SystemsTaranis stealth unmanned aerial system, which is capable of carrying weapons; Boeing’s hydrogen-powered drone; and US-maker QinetiQ solar-powered Zephyr drone, which has already set the world record for flight time at more than one week in the air continuously.

“They’re one of the futures of aviation, really,” Knowles says of the controversial drones.

IN PICTURES: Boeing 787 Dreamliner

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