Laser weapon knocks down missile off Calif coast

This image provided by the U.S. Department of Defense shows an infrared image of the Missile Defense Agency's Airborne Laser Testbed, right point, destroying a target missile, left point, on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010. This successful test is a boost to a program that has had billions in cost overruns and saw its budget sharply cut by the Pentagon last year. The Air Force and Boeing Co. announced Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 that an airborne laser system tracked a target missile as it accelerated over the ocean off the Point Mugu Naval Warfare Center on Thursday night. The Air Force says an energy beam heated the missile until it broke up. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Defense)

February 13, 2010 1:55:00 PM PST
A high-powered laser destroyed a target missile in flight off the Central California coast in a milestone test of a futuristic but troubled national defense system, the Air Force announced Friday.