Airborne Laser Test Postponed Again

The Missile Defense Agency delayed Tuesday’s scheduled test of the Airborne Laser Test Bed over the Pacific Ocean after an issue arose with the platform’s tracking laser. This laser supports the engagements of the test bed’s high-power, missile-zapping chemical laser. MDA wants to show that this powerful laser is capable of shooting down a ballistic missile from a distance of more than 100 miles. However, Tuesday’s shootdown attempt was scrubbed after the tracking laser did not properly calibrate when following an aircraft acting as a surrogate target prior to the planned main engagement against the missile. “The calibrations must be successfully completed prior to firing the aircraft’s main directed energy beam,” stated MDA in its release. The ballistic missile target was not launched. MDA did not announce the next test window. This shootdown attempt has been postponed several times in the past few weeks.