Airborne Laser Achieves 'First Light'
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems of St. Louis, a unit of Boeing Co., announced the successful demonstration of "first light" in the laser to be used in the prototype for the US Air Force's Airborne Laser Project. In the test, which was performed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, experimenters simultaneously operated the system's six chemical oxygen-iodine laser modules, optics and chemical supply.
The megawatt-class airborne laser is designed to destroy ballistic missiles in their boost phase at a range of hundreds of miles. The system will be carried aloft by a modified 747-400 freighter, designated YAL-1A. The laser will include adaptive optics to mitigate atmospheric distortion and platform jitter.
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