Saturday, October 28, 2006

US Hails New Airborne Laser Weapon

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency Friday rolled out its airborne laser aircraft, the latest development in a missile-defense system once ridiculed as a ``Star Wars'' fantasy. In a ceremony at Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, the agency announced it's ready to flight test some of the low-power systems on the aircraft. It is a modified Boeing 747 40-0F designed to destroy enemy missiles.The director of the Missile Defense Agency says he embraced early critics' comparison of the laser-equipped plane to the Star Wars movies. He says the agency believes it's building ``the forces of good to beat the forces of evil.'' The laser weapon's system is designed to detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles in their boost flight phase. The system is made up of three lasers mounted on the nose of the aircraft.