Zap! Boeing builds truck-mounted laser weapon

Boeing's truck-mounted HEL TD laser is assembled and ready for testing. It's designed to shoot down short-range projectiles and UAVs.

An artist's rendering of the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator. Boeing

Boeing recently built key parts of a truck-mounted laser weapon for the U.S. Army that will shoot down short-range projectiles and UAVs and it's set to test it later this year, according to a company release.

Important components of the Army's High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator ( HEL TD ) were installed on an eight-wheel Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.

It's scheduled to be tested at low power at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"The system includes mirrors, high-speed processors, and high-speed optical sensors," Boeing said. "HEL TD is a cornerstone of the Army's high-energy laser program and will support the transition of directed energy technologies to Army acquisition programs."

Atop the truck is a beam director turret that swivels 360 degrees and shoots a laser traveling at 186,000 miles per second.

Boeing previously demonstrated how its vehicle-mounted Laser Avenger can shoot down a UAV in a mountainous area.

The upcoming HEL TD tests will show how the system can "acquire, track and target moving projectiles."

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