At the moment, the plane has only its mechanical systems in place. The actual laser system--a "megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser beam" system, that is--would be installed later this year, if all goes according to plan. The Air Force is aiming to try its first shootdown of a ballistic missile target in 2009. So far the chemical laser has been fired in ground tests over the last several years. In this picture, James Thordahl, a systems engineer from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, uses a mock-up of the plane to discuss its capabilities.