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Defense & Security

Test fails for airborne laser designed to shoot down missiles

Los Angeles Times
23 October 2010

A Boeing 747 jumbo jet outfitted with a massive laser gun failed to knock out a dummy missile over the Pacific Ocean on 21 October, marking the second consecutive setback for a key missile defense program that is years behind schedule and plagued with cost overruns.

The heavily modified 747, dubbed Airborne Laser Test Bed, was unable to fire the laser gun because its onboard sensors could not accurately track the missile, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said. It was the second time in as many months in which the laser failed to hit the target.

Since the successful destruction of a sea-launched missile in February, the program has been plagued by a series of technical problems that delayed a follow-up missile test until early last month. In that test, a software glitch caused the laser to miss the desired mark on the target missile.

Full story from the Los Angeles Times