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Boeing progresses forward with the development of its airborne laser program

Boeing is working on a devastating new weapon which could strike fear into the eyes of all American enemies. The company is progressing at a rapid pace on its 12,000-pound airborne laser.

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) was installed into a C-130H gunship and Boeing is on track to begin in-flight tests of the weapon next year. Ground targets will be neutralized via the ATL which is incorporated into a rotating turret on the C-130H's belly.

The ATL is seen as a precise, high-power weapon that will result in less civilian causalities on the battlefield. Due to the nature of the laser being used, targets can be destroyed or disabled with extremely low levels of collateral damage. Boeing claims that the ATL is thus capable of being used on traditional battlefields or in more treacherous urban fighting.

"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 Boeing Missile Defense Systems VP and GM Scott Fancher. "Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon."

The ATL was developed in conjunction with Boeing’s Airborne Laser (ABL) which is fitted to a 747-400F freighter. While the ATL is aimed at destroying ground targets, the ABL is destined to fire upon ballistic missiles.

Boeing's ABL was deemed ready for flight testing in late October 2006 and successfully fired its targeting lasers at an airborne target on March 15, 2007. Boeing hopes to fire its high-energy laser at a ballistic missile in 2009.



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RE: So....
By NullSubroutine on 12/13/2007 10:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
read those wikipedia entries COIL does not seem like it would work very good against any type of ground targets if it apparently has trouble damaging some ICBMs.

from what I read it doesnt disentergrate or blow up the missiles it heats up its structure so it falls appart in flight...

this does not sound like a 'killer' laser for ground based targets, at least from the way they wrote those wikipedia entries


RE: So....
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 12/14/2007 8:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
Consider it this way, on infantry this is easy. You basically super heat their internal organs cooking them instantly. Works the same way on vehicles, cook the crew inside, and it's electronics instantly disabling the vehicle and annihilating it's crew.

Unless Boeing has figured out how to make it higher power in a burst type setting, causing even more damage. Considering the COIL entries on wikipedia are based on the 2004 demonstration of it shooting down a missile, I find it entirely possible that in 3 years they made necessary changes to make this possible.

Long and the short is that Boeing would not be doing this, and the Military would not be investing in this, if it was a wild goose chase. There is obviously some real benefit to it and they are persuing it.


RE: So....
By Misty Dingos on 12/14/2007 8:28:35 AM , Rating: 3
The concept of knocking down an ICBM at over 100 miles and burning a hole in a terrorists truck at 3 miles is the difference you are looking at. The AC-130 is often within a few thousand feet of its targets.

Being so close to the target makes it much eaiser to destroy or kill what or who the laser is pointed at.


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