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.
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
15, 2007. Boeing hopes to fire its high-energy laser at a ballistic missile