The Boeing Airborne Laser Testbed successfully shot down a Scud missile-like target at 2044 PST off the California coast, a landmark achievement in the $6 billion program's 16-year history.
The ALTB, a 747-400 freighter modified with a 1MW-class chemical laser and a 1.5m telescope mounted on the nose, used onboard sensors to acquire the short-range ballistic target shortly after launch from an offshore, mobile platform, the Missile Defense Agency says in a press release.
The ALTB then fired a low-energy laser to measure atmospheric disturbances and make corrections. Finally, the ALTB fired the high-energy laser, which destroyed the ballistic missile within two minutes of target launch.
The test marked the first attempt by the ALTB to shoot-down a ballistic missile powered by liquid fuel.