Military high energy laser weapon for attack aircraft test fired over New Mexico desert

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., 16 June 2009. The U.S. Air Force Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) system -- a high power laser weapon mounted to a C-130 turboprop aircraft -- took another step toward deployment this week when engineers from the Boeing Co. test fired the ATL for the first time in flight.

The Boeing ATL military laser aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its laser weapon while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., hitting a target on the ground.

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Air Force, is a C-130H aircraft equipped with a chemical high energy laser, a beam control system, sensors, and weapon-system consoles. The ATL program supports special operations missions using a tactical high energy laser system for effects-based engagements against ground targets.

"This test is a major step toward bringing directed energy capability to the warfighter," says Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems. "We have demonstrated that an airborne system can fire a high-power laser in flight and deliver laser beam energy to a ground target."

The ATL system is designed to destroy, damage, or disable targets with little to no collateral damage on the battlefield and in urban operations.

The Boeing-led ATL industry team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which built the laser turret; HYTEC Inc., which made a variety of the weapon system's structural elements; and J.B. Henderson, which provides mechanical integration support.

For more information contact Boeing Integrated Defense Systems online at www.boeing.com/ids.

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