© Ed Turner, Boeing
The Advanced Tactical Laser aircraft flies over Albuquerque, N.M.
Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser aircraft damaged a moving ground vehicle in a Sept. 19 Air Force test, the company announced Tuesday.

"In this test, a directed energy weapon successfully demonstrated direct attack on a moving target," Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems' Directed Energy Systems unit, said in a news release. "ATL has now precisely targeted and engaged both stationary and moving targets, demonstrating the transformational versatility of this speed-of-light, ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage."

During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, near Albuquerque, N.M., and fired a high-power chemical laser over White Sands Missile Range, hitting the unoccupied, remotely controlled vehicle and putting a hole in a fender. The system damaged an unoccupied stationary vehicle Aug. 30, in its first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a tactically representative target.

The idea ultimately is to destroy, damage or disable targets on the battlefield and in urban operations with little to no collateral damage.