Boeing said that it recently installed a high-energy chemical laser, commonly referred to as the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), aboard a C-130H aircraft. The 12,000-pound laser module made its way into teh plane on December 4 and was aligned with previously installed beam control system, which is designed to direct the laser beam to its target.
Boeing plans to use the system for "a series of tests in 2008" and will fire the laser "in-flight at mission-representative ground targets to demonstrate the military utility of high-energy lasers." The test team will fire the laser through "a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft's belly," Boeing said.
"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, in a prepared statement. Boeing claims that the ATL "will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations."