The US Air Force Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser's (ABL) 1.7m (5.6ft) contact lens-like window, through which its laser will be directed at targets, was operated for the first time last month during the aircraft's 18th test flight. Mounted in the rotating turret-ball assembly on the nose, the window had been stowed behind a shield during earlier flights – its default position for operational take-off and landing. The ABL is one of the boost-phase segments of the US missile defence system.

Source: Flight International