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Advanced Tactical Laser Fires High-Energy Laser Installed On C-130H

By | May 19, 2008

      The Boeing Co. [BA] fired an Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) weapon — a high-energy chemical laser installed aboard a C-130H aircraft — in ground tests for the first time, the company announced today.

      That test was part of the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program.

      The test was conducted at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

      In combat, the ATL should permit reducing collateral damage, according to 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 prime contractor Boeing is developing for the Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. Subcontractors include 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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