Laser Weapon Testing At White Sands

Las Cruces – The Army's High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range will begin field tests this year on a high power solid state laser system.

The Army Space and Missile Defense Command will operate phase 3 of a joint high power solid state laser system at the southern New Mexico range, which has 3,200 square miles of restricted land and 7,000 square miles of restricted airspace.

The system has reached weapon-level performance in the laboratory.

The missile command says that means it could rapidly heat a target, causing the target to fail or its warhead to explode.

The head of the laser project for the Army, Brian Strickland, says the next step is to take the laser to the field and begin shooting down missiles.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.