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oct 05 2009

Video: Watch an airplane's anti-missile laser in action

Shields up! In tests last year, three Boeing commercial jets were outfitted with lasers, which could be fired to disable missiles shot by terrorists. The three Boeing planes were owned by American Airlines, but were only tested on flights without passengers to make sure no one was endangered.

The airborne lasers don't "shoot down" missiles. Instead, they jam the electronics of the missiles, causing them to veer off course and miss the plane. This laser-jamming technology costs up to $1 million a piece—and may not work perfectly.

But last week we found out about new lasers from Boeing that do, in fact, destroy missiles by burning holes through them. Boeing released a video of a test of how one of its lasers—mounted on a 747 soaring high in the air—hit a target on the hood of a car parked in a desert.

Similar technology could thwart terrorists armed with shoulder-fired projectiles.

What do you think? Should America arm its passenger jets with any kind of anti-missle system?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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