The green laser hit the left side of a C-17 cockpit that was 12 miles north of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
President Donald Trump called for the best cutting-edge missile defense weapons and systems at the Pentagon on Thursday.
The Pentagon has just a few years to decide whether it wants to invest heavily in the new technology.
The U.S. Army is closer to mounting lasers on vehicles for protection against enemy rocket, artillery and mortar fire.
The SHiELD seeks to equip supersonic warplanes with defensive lasers mounted in external pods.
The U.S. charged that China aimed laser beams at U.S. pilots in Djibouti.
Facing increased competition from Russia and China, the Air Force is pushing to develop experimental technologies for combat.
Sen. Martin Heinrich said at the current pace of testing, a laser weapon for the AC-130 would not be operational until 2030.
If one service has made sufficient progress to use laser weapons in its arsenal in the next few years, it's the U.S. Navy.
Other suppressors in past tests have not been able to stand up to the heat and roar produced by the 7.62mm M240.
Lt. Col. Anne McClain is one of three currently serving active-duty Army astronauts.
The return of the Nimitz is to provide security for the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Israel, long suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the last decade, has declined to comment on the attack.
Fully repairing the USS Bonhomme Richard would have reportedly cost $2.5 billion to $3 billion and take five to seven years.