An infrared image of the Missile Defense Agency’s airborne laser testbed (right) destroying a short-range ballistic missile.
In news that would make Han Solo proud, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency has shot down a ballistic missile using a high-powered laser. The technology, which never, ever worked in the past, is criticized by some as weaponizing space and others as a colossal waste of resources. —JCL
The US this week achieved a goal that has eluded it since Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars programme by knocking out a ballistic missile using a high-powered laser beam mounted on a plane.
The successful test was carried out yesterday in California, the US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) said, making real what had previously been confined to the realms of science fiction.
The plane uses a combination of lasers to lock on to the missile and track its trajectory, and then bring it down with a single shot fired from the nose turret, all in less than 12 seconds.