Airborne Laser knocks down test missile

Feb. 15, 2010
Edwards Air Force Base, CA--The U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Airborne Laser Testbed (ABL) successfully engaged and destroyed a boosting ballistic missile ...

Edwards Air Force Base, CA--The U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Airborne Laser Testbed (ABL) successfully engaged and destroyed a boosting ballistic missile on February 11, 2010, according to releases issued by Boeing Missile Defense Systems and the MDA. During the experiment a modified Boeing 747-400F aircraft with a chemical-oxygen iodine laser (COIL) installed took off from Edwards Air Force Base and focused its high-energy laser at "a short-range threat-representative ballistic missile … launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform." The missile was destroyed as it was rising in its boost phase--heated to the point of "critical structural failure" as the aircraft flew over the Western Sea Range off the coast of California. According to the MDA, this experiment marks the first time a laser weapon has engaged and destroyed an in-flight ballistic missile, and the first time that any system has accomplished it in the missile's boost phase of flight. The ABL delivers the highest-energy laser ever fired from an aircraft, and is the most powerful mobile laser device in the world. In a statement about this ABL milestone, Michael Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director said, "With this successful experiment, the Airborne Laser Testbed has blazed a path for a new generation of high-energy, ultra-precision weaponry ... Having the capability to precisely project force, in a measured way, at the speed of light, will save lives."

Posted by Steve Anderson --www.laserfocusworld.com.

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