Boeing has begun flight testing in New Mexico of the concept of an aircraft-mounted tactical combat laser that could eventually be used against ground targets. The low-power tests at White Sands Missile Range involve a laser mounted on a belly of a C-130 and are part of the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration. The low-power solid state laser is a stand-in for the high-power chemical laser designers believe can be deployed to attack ground targets, particularly in crowded urban settings or against moving targets where a high degree of precision is required. "ATL will transform the battlefield by giving the warfighter a speed-of-light, precision engagement capability that will reduce collateral damage dramatically," Boeing Vice President Pat Shanahan said Friday. "The start of flight and laser testing shows that Boeing is making solid progress toward making this revolutionary capability a reality." The oxygen-iodine chemical beam produces an effect similar to a blow torch that can easily cut through metal, and is effective as distances up to 9 miles, making it possible to be used both out of sight and earshot of the enemy.
Boeing said in a release that the beam is precise enough to hit the tire of a moving vehicle without risking a hit on the fuel tank or passenger compartment. The chemical laser was fired for the first at a site in Albuquerque last month and will continue ground tests through the fall. It will be installed in a small turret on the C-130 next year for mission simulation flight tests. http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com...s.php?id=80532