ABL Fires “Surrogate” Lasers

The DOD-industry team working on the Airborne Laser recently fired low-power surrogate lasers from within the modified Boeing 747-400F ABL aircraft, proving that the team could align the various critical components of the Lockheed Martin beam control/fire control system. Boeing officials called the test a “major step” in the now-restructured program. Later this year, the ABL team plans to install the system’s track and beacon illuminator lasers for ground and flight tests. The high-energy laser, which has been ground tested, goes on the aircraft next year for the first missile shoot-down test in 2008.