Army Postpones Test For Missile-Defense Laser

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Army Postpones Test For
Missile-Defense Laser

by Robert Wall

05/25/00 02:10:39 PM U.S. EDT

Israel will have to wait a little longer for a U.S.-developed laser system to protect it against Katyusha rockets. The U.S. Army postponed its first attempt to shoot down a Katyusha rocket with the Tactical High-Energy Laser (THEL, pictured). A mirror in the laser was damaged during testing at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

It will take about two weeks to fix the laser, Army officials say. THEL was conceived as a quick development program in 1996 to defend against rockets launched by Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists. But the high-energy laser system’s development has been slowed by technical problems. The Army hopes to be able to resume THEL testing and achieve the first intercept in June.

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