Air Force tests anti-ground C-130 laser

(MILITARY TIMES)   An Air Force C-130 hit a dummy ground target by firing a kilowatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., during a June 13 test of the service’s Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), Boeing officials said.

“We fired the laser in-flight. We hit a target board on the ground,” said Gary Fitzmire, vice president of Boeing’s directed energy systems.

The test flight originated from nearby Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

The ATL — configured to deploy on a C-130 — is designed to destroy ground targets while moving with little or no collateral damage, Fitzmire said.

“We were able to conduct many ground tests to build confidence of the system and the laser itself. Last summer, we conducted an integrated ground test. Our targets are ground-based tactical targets such as a fuel tank, vehicle or communications node,” Fitzmire said.

The roughly $200 million ATL program began in late 2002. Several more flight tests are planned for this summer, Fitzmere said.

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