Airborne Laser Destroys Missile

Ray gun fans, rejoice! The Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) took out a liquid-fueled ballistic missile from an airborne platform, according to the Missile Defense Agency.


(Laser destroys missile)

A modified Boeing 747-400F airframe fitted with a Northrop Grumman higher-energy laser and Lockheed Martin beam and fire control system [was used]. After an at-sea launch, the ALTB used a low-energy laser to track the target. A second, low-energy laser was used to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbances before the megawatt-class laser was fired, "heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure."

I should also mention the Lewiston from EE 'Doc' Smith's 1934 classic Triplanetary - except that this described a space ship-borne beam weapon.

Through the great room the two Lewistons swept at full aperture and at maximum power, two rapidly opening fans of death and destruction... Through the delicately adjusted, complex mechanisms the destroying beams tore. At their touch armatures burned out, high-tension leads volatilized in crashing, high-voltage sparks, masses of metal smoked and burned in the path of vast forces now seeking the easiest path to neutralization, delicate instruments blew up, copper ran in streams like water.

If you enjoy this general topic, you'll like AESA Radars Used As 'Death Ray' Weapons? .

Via Engadget; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story (I think).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/13/2010)

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