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America's 60-year effort to build a deadly laser has been crippled by farcical blunders and technical problems, a new book reveals.

The military has spent hundreds of billions trying to build a Star Wars style 'Death Ray' but the plans have barely made it off the drawing board.

Lead researchers on early projects were not given security clearance and were nearly banned from using their own bathrooms out of fears they were working for the Communists.

Lasers in planes were so heavy that rocket boosters to fly them did not even exist - and those which got airborne were beset by vibration problems.

One $4.3 billion project led to an aircraft that had to return to base after every flight and needed to be escorted to battle by fighter jets because it could not defend itself.

The most famous attempt to build space lasers was Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars' program in 1983 but after burning through more than $200 billion it was canceled.

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Category: Science