HomeNewsArticle Display

Advanced tactical laser aircraft fires high-power laser in flight

A specially modified 46th Test Wing NC-130H aircraft equipped with the Advanced Tactical Laser weapon system fired its laser while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., successfully hitting a target board located on the ground. Equipped with a chemical laser, a beam control system, sensors and weapon-system consoles, the ATL is designed to damage, disable or destroy targets with little or no collateral damage. (Courtesy photo)

A specially modified 46th Test Wing NC-130H aircraft equipped with the Advanced Tactical Laser weapon system fired its laser while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., successfully hitting a target board located on the ground. Equipped with a chemical laser, a beam control system, sensors and weapon-system consoles, the ATL is designed to damage, disable or destroy targets with little or no collateral damage. (Courtesy photo)

Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. (AFNS) -- Members of the 413th Flight Test Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., and contractor Boeing recently successfully fired the high-power laser aboard the Advanced Tactical Laser aircraft for the first time in flight. 

The combined effort between Boeing and the 413th was instrumental to the "first light" of the high power ATL.

"This successful test is a major step toward bringing directed energy capability to the warfighter," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing's Directed Energy Systems. "We have demonstrated that an airborne system can fire a high-power laser in flight and deliver laser beam energy to a ground target."

During the test, the specially modified 46th Test Wing NC-130H aircraft equipped with the ATL weapon system took off from Kirtland and fired its laser while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., successfully hitting a target board located on the ground. ATL is equipped with a chemical laser, a beam control system, sensors and weapon-system consoles.

"We have taken technology from the laboratory to reality and have now demonstrated that directed energy is on a path toward a safe and viable option for the warfighter with very unique capabilities," said Eric Van Dorn, 413th FLTS lead flight test engineer.

More tests are planned to demonstrate ATL's military utility. The system is designed to damage, disable or destroy targets with little to no collateral damage. These demonstrations support development of systems that will conduct missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

"The time and effort from the entire team exhibited the cooperation and professionalism between the U. S. Air Force and Boeing. The culmination of this event is fantastic," said Master Sgt. Scott Wollitz, mission flight engineer. "I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of the crew for this test. The laser shot was amazing!"

The ATL program is managed by the 687th Armament Systems Squadron, which is part of the 308th Armament Systems Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., and supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland.

"It's another case of science fiction becoming reality," said Maj. James Stahl, 413th FLTS test pilot. "As a kid growing up I was fascinated by the lasers in the movie Star Wars; to be the first to fire this laser in flight is truly an honor."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
As America’s top cover, ICBM operators have the Specialty Code of 13N, allowing #USAF to recognize these profession… https://t.co/G6aNX0FSLI
RT @USAFCENT: INTEROPERABILITY | A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft refuels a USAF F-22 Raptor, Nove…
DYK - Pitch Day events are continuing @AFLCMC Nov. 13-14 in Dayton, Ohio. #USAF's Life Cycle Management Center is r… https://t.co/LH5XmKuVff
You'll want to add this one to your playlist. https://t.co/aZXefMZocR
RT @HQ_AFMC: Today's the day....more than $12 million is set to be awarded at the inaugural @AFLCMCofficial Pitch Day in Dayton! Stay tune…
RT @PACAF: @109thAW Airmen prepare a #LC130 for take-off to Christchurch #NewZealand, Oct. 31. in support of the @NSF managed U.S. Antarcti…
RT @USAF_ACC: Awesome story on @usairforce Air Combat Command Captain supporting his daughter by cheering in sync with her at her football…
RT @cmsaf18: Leaders, listen up. Please speak with your teammates about their #financial readiness. Help them learn & lead them to the AFRC…
Interested in becoming a #pilot? Don't let height concerns stand in your way. Read on for stature requirements here: https://t.co/l1FoZt3nYL
RT @BullisSchool: Today in celebration of our veterans, we welcomed U.S. Air Force Col. D’Anne E. Spence and Master Navigator and Pentagon…
RT @DeptofDefense: Bringing the fight anywhere in any weather! These @usairforce special operators are in Norway, practicing with CV-22 Osp…
RT @PACAF: Working alongside our sister services, allies, and partners allows us to be ready, resilient, and postured for the future. @AusA
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Today we swore in 20 recruits @PhoenixRaceway making them part of the greatest @usairforce on the planet. What better…
RT @DeptofDefense: .@AndersenAFBGuam is one of the world’s most historic Air Force bases! Where did it get its name? Click ▶️ to find out!…
Happy 244th birthday @USMC! Give us a call whenever you need some #airpower. #HappyBirthdayMarines https://t.co/P4yjU1iJLW
RT @AETCommand: #ICYMI: @81trwKeeslerAFB leadership officiated the opening of "The Lighthouse" inside the Larcher Chapel! Read more ⬇️ on t…
Last weekend @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett was publicly sworn in as the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. See the h… https://t.co/1ZGrs8ku0y
As we prepare to honor #veterans around the world, the next generation of #Airmen were sworn in to the #USAF by Ge… https://t.co/sJkvcgrYSI