Airborne Laser (ABL): Assessing Recent Developments and Plans for the Future

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Date(s) - 6/27/200812:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Using a megawatt-class Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser housed aboard a modified Boeing 747-400 airplane, the Airborne Laser’s (ABL) mission is to detect, track, target and destroy ballistic missiles during their boost-phase, or shortly after launch.  Having successfully demonstrated the component technologies and capabilities over the past several years, those elements are now being integrated on-board the aircraft in preparation for a series of ground and flights tests as well as missile intercept test.  Col. Robert McMurry discussed recent accomplishments and plans for the future and Lt. Gen. Michael Dunn elaborated on the missions this revolutionary system might fill.

Col. McMurry is Commander of the Airborne Laser Program Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.  This mission of this wing level organization is to demonstrate the capability of the ABL to shoot down a ballistic missile in its boost phase.  This is his second tour with the missile defense agency; in previous assignments he was the F-16 System Program Manager and the Vice Wing Commander for Space Based Infrared Systems.

Lt General (Retired) Michael M. Dunn is the President and CEO of the Air Force Association (AFA).  AFA is a non-profit grass roots organization with 125,000 members all over the United States, the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East.  AFA’s mission is to educate the public about the importance of airpower, advocate for a strong national defense and strong Air Force, and support the Air Force and the Air Force family.  Gen Dunn’s last assignment on active duty was President, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.


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