Boeing and the US Air Force have used the advanced tactical laser (ATL) aircraft to successfully engage a ground target from the air for the first time.

The tactical laser is designed to destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage.

During the ATL test, the laser fired from a C-130H aircraft using the beam control system acquired the ground target – a stationary vehicle – and destroyed the target using energy from the laser beam.

Boeing Missile Defense Systems vice president and general manager Greg Hyslop said that this was a historic test.

“The test demonstrates that directed energy weapon systems will transform the battlespace and save lives by giving warfighters a speed-of-light, ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage,” Hyslop said.