Test of laser from C-130H melts hood of car
By Bruce Rolfsen
New video released by the Air Force and Boeing Co. show what happens when a C-130H Hercules aims the Advanced Tactical Laser at the hood of car.
In the video recorded Aug. 30 during a test flight at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., the laser melts the hood and sparks a fire. A press statement from Boeing said the laser “killed the vehicle.”
The weapon uses a chemical laser that fills the cargo hold of C-130 to produce a laser beam fired from a turret mounted in the belly of a C-130.
If the size of laser can be reduced, the Air Force could one day fly laser versions of the AC-130 gunships.
The future of the project is in doubt as it competes for funding with other weapons, but a Boeing official said he is optimistic.
“The bottom line is that ATL works, and works very well,” Gary Fitzmire, program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems’ Directed Energy Systems unit, said in a release. “ATL’s components — the high-energy chemical laser, beam control system and battle manager — are performing as one integrated weapon system, delivering effective laser beam energy to ground targets.”
Working with Boeing on the $200 million project, which began in 2002, is the Air Force Research Lab’s Directed Energy Directorate.
Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser In Action
This video shows the effect of the high-energy laser beam from the Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), fired at a stationary truck from a US Air Force NC-130H flying over White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on August 30, 2009. The ATL is a chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL), and is a scaled-down version of the megawatt-class high-energy laser in the Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser (ABL).