June 27, 2006 The United States’ Airborne Laser (ABL) program sounds so fantastic that it’s hard to believe that it’s on track to be operational within two years. ABL will feature the world's first megawatt-class laser weapon system integrated on a specially configured aircraft to autonomously detect, track and destroy all classes of hostile ballistic missiles at the speed-of-light. The ABL team and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) took a major step toward demonstrating the capability of ABL this week by successfully firing surrogate lasers from inside the aircraft. The high-energy laser, which achieved lethal power and run-times in a ground laboratory, will be installed in the ABL aircraft in 2007 to prepare for the program's first missile shoot-down test, slated for 2008.
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