High-power laser to fly

Boeing has installed a high-energy chemical laser aboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft as part of the Advanced Tactical Laser Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program


Boeing has installed a high-energy chemical laser aboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft as part of the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program.



The laser, which includes a 5,400kg integrated laser module, has been installed in a rotating turret on the aircraft’s belly and aligned with the previously installed beam control system.



After a series of tests Boeing plans to conduct a demonstration in 2008 where the aircraft will fire the laser at ground targets whilst it is in-flight, highlighting how the laser could be used to support other miltary units.



‘The installation of the high-energy laser shows that the ATL program continues to make tremendous progress toward giving the warfighter a speed-of-light, precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage,’ said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.



Previously this year Boeing completed successful flight tests with a low power laser and laboratory testing with the high power version.



ATL is being developed for the US Department of Defense and aims to be able to destroy targets with little to no collateral damage. The ATL team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, who made the turret, and HYTEC, who made the various structural elements of the weapon system.