The US Air Force's Airborne Laser platform successfully destroyed a ballistic missile this morning. It's the first time that a high-energy laser weapon has destroyed a target in flight, and the first time that any defensive system has destroyed a ballistic missile during the boost phase of flight. The laser weapon was developed by Northrop Grumman, the beam & fire control system by Lockheed Martin and the aircraft & integrated system by Boeing. The beam is emitted from the world's largest turret assembly, which is mounted at the nose of a modified 747. Last night's test was conducted off the coast of California. Although initially designed as a defensive system, the ABL, Advanced Tactical Laser and Laser Avenger are proving the concept and effectiveness of directed energy weapons. Check out more pictures and video here.
"With this successful experiment, the Airborne Laser Testbed has blazed a path for a new generation of high-energy, ultra-precision weaponry. ALTB technology and future directed-energy platforms will transform how the United States defends itself and its friends and allies. Having the capability to precisely project force, in a measured way, at the speed of light, will save lives."