No this isn’t a trailer from a new James Bond movie. The Airborne Laser (ABL) successfully fired its onboard Laser on a missile during testing earlier this month.
These videos were just made public.
The ABL, being developed by the DOD’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), first fired December of 2008 but is now able to “acquire” a missile target. The laser system is housed aboard a modified Boeing 747-400 Freighter, with two solid state lasers and a megawatt-class Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser.
The purpose of this test was lock onto the missile, so the missile wasn’t actually destroyed.
According to the MDA, this test occurred off of California’s central coast (that’s just up the highway from me). The data gathered from this successful test will be used for its next test this year when it will attempt a “lethal shootdown” of a ballistic missile. For all our sakes, I hope the system is more stable than the laser satellite in Diamonds Are Forever, the Solex Agitator Laser from The Man With A Golden Gun, and the Icarus satellite in To Die Another Day.