The Airborne Laser, Missile-Zapping Laser Plane of the Future, Is No More

Missile Defense Agency

The Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB) is dead after a long battle with Pentagon budgetary priorities and Congress. ALTB is best remembered for being a far-out directed-energy beam missile defense interceptor that dodged cancellation by the SecDef himself in 2010 by successfully zapping a test missile from the sky, earning it $40 million more and a new lease on life.

But even ALTB couldn’t survive last week’s federal budget slashing. ALTB was sixteen years and several billion dollars old. It will be laid to rest at the the Air Force’s Maintenance and Regeneration Group, known as “The Boneyard.” It is survived by the Navy’s Free Electron Laser.

Danger Room