Laser weapons have been used in test firings from the ground to successfully shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and to destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) similar to those used against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. A heavily modified Boeing aircraft with a powerful chemical laser fired from its nose turret made history by demonstrating the lethal energy of an airborne laser when it destroyed a boosting ballistic test missile off the coast of California.

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Airborne Laser TestbedThe U.S. military’s research program on laser weapons continues to make strides in demonstrating the potential of directed energy to defend against missiles, artillery shells, and other explosives at the speed of light.

Laser weapons have been used in test firings from the ground to successfully shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and to destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) similar to those used against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. A heavily modified Boeing aircraft with a powerful chemical laser fired from its nose turret made history by demonstrating the lethal energy of an airborne laser when it destroyed a boosting ballistic test missileoff the coast of California.

Several branches of the U.S. military have active R&D programs for laser weaponry using chemical, solid-state, and free-electron lasers, including the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB)‘s chemical laser, said to be the most powerful mobile laser…

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