Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Boeing , industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency have completed installing the high-energy laser aboard the Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft and have begun testing the laser with its chemical fuel at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The tests involve flowing the laser’s chemicals through the laser to confirm sequencing and control. Once these tests are completed, the test team will fire the laser aboard the aircraft on the ground for the first time.
“The Airborne Laser team has done a great job preparing the high-energy laser for these fuel tests, which will lead the way toward achieving ‘first light’ of the laser aboard the aircraft,” said Mike Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director.
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“Once again, we made and demonstrated enormous progress toward ushering in a new age of directed-energy weapons.”
Repeated laser firings aboard the aircraft will demonstrate lasing duration and power at levels suitable for the destruction of multiple classes of ballistic missiles. The laser will then be fired through the aircraft’s beam control/fire control system, including the nose-mounted turret.