Airborne Laser Approaches Pivotal Test

The much scrutinized Airborne Laser (ABL), a boost-phase missile defense system, crossed more milestones in recent weeks on its way to demonstrating its destructive capability against a missile in flight. A most demanding undertaking, the ABL is a megawatt-class Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) mounted on Boeing 747 aircraft. The ABL-modified aircraft will destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase — 3 to 6 minutes after launch — when they are most vulnerable to interception.1 In the past few weeks ABL testing passed a number of testing milestones signifying the program’s continued progress.

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