World first: 747-mounted laser blasts missile out of the sky

For the first time ever, an airborne laser weapon mounted aboard a Boeing 747-400F blew up a sea-launched liquid-fueled ballistic missile. The light-speed laser beam shot "directed energy" from the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB), consisting of a Northrop Grumman higher-energy laser and a Lockheed Martin beam-and-fire control system. A

Using another lower energy laser to specifically target the missile, the megawatt-class laser locked onto that missile, "heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure."

Dramatic stuff. This laser missile-killing tech actually works, despite budget cuts for the laser defense program. Before long, the system might be able to reach its full potential, taking out multiple targets at the speed of light. It sounds like the future just arrived.

Via Reuters