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U.S. Army tests defense system

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WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico (CNN) -- In what it called a historic event, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command announced Tuesday that a laser had successfully destroyed an artillery projectile in flight.

"Over the desert of New Mexico ... the Mobile Tactical High-Energy Laser (MTHEL) tracked, locked and fired a burst of photons on an artillery projectile. Seconds later, at a point well short of its intended destination, the projectile was destroyed," command officials said in a written statement.

The exercise was one of a series of tests that will determine MTHEL's capabilities against a variety of targets, the statement said.

The MTHEL Program is a collaborative program developed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

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