It's been a long haul marked by funding cuts and some important but rather unexciting tests, but it looks like Boeing's much-ballyhooed airborne laser has now finally actually blown something up, real good. According to Boeing and the US Air Force, that happened over the White Sands Missile Range on August 30th, when an C-130H aircraft equipped with the Advanced Tactical Laser (or ATL) locked on to an unspecified ground target and fired the 12,000lb high-power chemical laser to make the target disappear from the face of the Earth. That successful test seems unlikely to change the laser's place in the Defense Department's arsenal, however, which has already been scaled back significantly from the earlier, more ambitious plans for a whole fleet of aircraft equipped with the weapon.

[Via Slashdot]