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. Boeing Begins Firing High-Energy Laser Aboard Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.
by Staff Writers
St. Louis MO (SPX) May 20, 2008
Boeing has fired a high-energy chemical laser aboard a C-130H aircraft in ground tests for the first time, achieving a key milestone for the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program.

The successful laser firing occurred May 13 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

"First firing of the high-energy laser aboard the ATL aircraft shows that the program continues to make good progress toward giving the warfighter an ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.

After conducting a series of additional laser tests on the ground and in the air, the program will fire the chemical laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft's belly.

"Later this year, we will fire the laser in-flight at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon," Fancher said.

Last year, the high-energy laser concluded laboratory testing at Kirtland, demonstrating reliable operations in more than 50 firings.

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. Boeing's ATL industry team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system.

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Northrop Grumman has demonstrated exemplary performance capability of a laser chain, the first major building block of a solid state demonstrator laser designed to reach a power level of 100kW. The Joint High-Powered Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) Phase 3 program exceeded all target requirements of its second major demonstration milestone, including excellent beam quality.

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