C-130-based high-energy laser weapon defeats ground target in flight test

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Laser weapons experts from Boeing and the U.S. Air Force defeated a ground target from the air with the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft in late August in ATL’s first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a kind of target that would be found on the battlefield.

Oct 1st, 2009
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Laser weapons experts from Boeing and the U.S. Air Force defeated a ground target from the air with the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft in late August in ATL’s first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a kind of target that would be found on the battlefield.


The Advanced Tactical Laser, shown here, is installed on a U.S. Air Force C-130H turboprop aircraft. The laser is mounted in the turret underneath the aircraft.
Click here to enlarge image

The C-130H ATL airborne laser aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its high-power chemical military laser through its laser weapon 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 high-energy laser beam to the target to defeat the vehicle.

The military lasers demonstration occurred less than three months after a June test in which ATL 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 system’s military utility. These demonstrations support the development of systems that will conduct missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

“This 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 reduce collateral damage,” says Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.

The ATL industry team also 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, visitt Boeing Integrated Defense Systems online at www.boeing.com.

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