Boeing Consolidates Directed Energy Work

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Boeing Defense, Space & Security is combining its Airborne Laser Test Bed and Directed Energy organizations into a single Directed Energy Systems team based in Albuquerque, N.M., the St. Louis-based company announced in a June 23 press release.

The Pentagon announced in February that Airborne Laser would be relegated to a research-and-development test bed and transferred from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to the research-and-development arm of the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Later that month, the modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft made its long-awaited debut, firing on and destroying a boosting sounding rocket. Eight days later, the aircraft shot down another target missile, but failed to destroy a second target missile due to the premature shutdown of the aircraft’s laser weapon system.

In a June 16 interview, U.S. Air Force Col. Robert McMurray, the Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser Test Bed program manager, said the Boeing contractor team has fewer than 300 people working on Airborne Laser, down from approximately 1,200 at peak.

Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Strategic & Missile Defense Systems, said combining the two organizations “will focus our efforts on developing and applying laser technologies to deliver breakthrough products and systems to our customers today and tomorrow.”

The new Directed Energy Systems team will be led by Mike Rinn, currently vice president and program director for the Airborne Laser Test Bed.