Boeing-Built Laser Aircraft Takes Out Ground Target

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Boeing Integrated Defense Systems of St. Louis said it successfully “defeated” a ground target Aug. 30 during a flight test of the experimental Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft.

The ATL is a modified C-130H aircraft with a high-power chemical laser that is designed to destroy or disable ground targets with little collateral damage. During the test, the aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., acquired an unoccupied target vehicle on the ground with its beam control system, and “defeated” the target with its laser, Boeing said in a Sept. 1 press release.

It was the first flight test for the ATL since June 13 when its laser was fired in the air for the first time. Boeing and the U.S. Air Force plan to conduct additional tests to validate the system’s military utility, the release said.