The Defense Department was forced to delay again a key test of a powerful missile-destroying laser equipped on a Boeing aircraft due to technical problems.

The test, described as “unprecedented,” was scheduled for Tuesday night at a sea test range off California, but officials were forced to reschedule it after a problem was identified with cooling system used on a tracking camera for the system. It couldn’t be fixed in time to make the test window.

The test has been rescheduled for Aug. 21. This is the third delay of the test, which is designed to demonstrate longer ranges for the laser weapon.

The agency conducted the first ever shoot-down using the Airborne Laser earlier this year, during which the high-powered energy beam destroyed a target meant to represent the popular Scud ballistic missile. “Our objective is to shoot [the missile] down at twice the range” of the last test, Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly, the director of the Missile Defense Agency, told reporters Tuesday, before the scheduled test.

The Airborne Laser is a chemical laser housed in the nose cone of a Boeing 747, and is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their initial phase of ascent, known as the boost phase. The exact range of the laser is classified, O’Reilly said, but he added that the last test was conducted from more than 50 miles away, so Tuesday night’s test was supposed to be over 100 miles away.

Source: Sharon Weinberger for AOL News.

Up Next

U.S. Special Forces ordered to shave off beards, some against command because it helps relations.

The Defense Department was forced to delay again a key test of a powerful…