Airborne Laser Test Delayed

Trouble with test equipment has delayed Wednesday’s scheduled test of the Airborne Laser Test Bed off of the coast of southern California until at least Saturday, according to the Missile Defense Agency. There was “a problem with the tracking camera cooling system” that could not be repaired in time to meet the available range times, said MDA in a release. (See our initial coverage.) ALTB is expected to be mission-ready when the next test window opens up on Saturday. The test bed is a modified 747 equipped with a powerful laser system. During the upcoming test, ALTB will attempt to shoot down a boosting ballistic missile with the laser’s beam from a distance of more than 100 miles, Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, MDA director, told reporters in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. Back in February, ALTB shot down a similar missile at a distance greater than 50 miles.