Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser Defeats Ground Target in Flight Test
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 30 defeated a ground target from the air with the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating ATLís first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a tactically representative target.
During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its high-power chemical laser through its beam control system while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The beam control system acquired the ground target -- an unoccupied stationary vehicle -- and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATLís battle management system. The laser beamís energy defeated the vehicle.
ďThis milestone demonstrates that directed energy weapon systems will transform the battlespace and save lives by giving warfighters a speed-of-light, ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage,Ē said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. ďBy demonstrating this capability, the ATL team has earned a distinguished place in the history of weapon system development.Ē
The test occurred less than three months after a June 13 test in which ATL successfully fired its laser from the air for the first time, hitting a target board on the ground. The ATL team plans additional tests to further demonstrate the systemís military utility. These demonstrations support the development of systems that will conduct missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.
ďThe bottom line is that ATL works, and works very well,Ē said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systemsí Directed Energy Systems unit. ďATLís components -- the high-energy chemical laser, beam control system and battle manager -- are performing as one integrated weapon system, delivering effective laser beam energy to ground targets.Ē
The ATL industry team also includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which built the laser turret; HYTEC Inc., which made a variety of the weapon systemís structural elements; and J.B. Henderson, which provides mechanical integration support.
Boeing leads the way in developing and integrating laser systems for a variety of customers, including the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy. Besides ATL, these systems include the Airborne Laser, Free Electron Laser, High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator and Tactical Relay Mirror System.
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