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Boeing's High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, shown here, engaged more than 150 aerial targets including mortar rounds and remotely piloted aircraft in recent tests, announced the company, Sept. 4, 2014. Screenshot captured from Boeing video

Boeing's High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, a tactical military vehicle carrying a directed-energy weapon system, engaged more than 150 aerial targets including 60-millimeter mortar rounds and remotely piloted aircraft in recent tests at Eglin AFB, Fla., announced the company. "Under windy, rainy, and foggy weather conditions in Florida, these engagements were the most challenging to date with a 10-kilowatt laser on HEL MD," said Dave DeYoung, Boeing directed energy systems director, in the company's Sept. 4 release. "As proven at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 2013 and at Eglin Air Force Base this spring, HEL MD is reliable and capable of consistently acquiring, tracking, and engaging a variety of targets in different environments, demonstrating the potential military utility of directed-energy systems," he said. HEL MD is designed to shoot down small rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds as well as aircraft. Boeing developed it for the Army. The next step is to install a 50- or 60-kw laser on the demonstrator and validate its capability at this higher power level, states the release.