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Laser Destroys Artillery Projectile in Flight

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 -- In what it called a defense industry breakthrough, the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command announced Tuesday that a laser successfully destroyed an artillery projectile in flight.

The Army and TRW Inc., which developed the weapon, said in a joint statement that the laser tracked, locked onto and fired a burst of concentrated light energy photons at the speeding shell over the White Sands test range in New Mexico.

"Seconds later, at a point well short of its intended destination, the projectile was destroyed," the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command said.

The mobile tactical high-energy laser (MTHEL) is being developed by TRW for the Army and the Israeli Defense Ministry. Lasers have been used in past tests at the range to shoot down slower Katyusha Rockets similar to those fired at Israel by militant guerrilla groups in neighboring Lebanon.

The exercise was one of a series of tests that will determine MTHEL's capabilities against a variety of targets, the statement said.

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Nov 2002
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