Airborne Laser aircraft schedules public relations appearance

June 20, 2007
June 20, 2007, Andrews AFB, MD--The Airborne Laser aircraft is scheduled to land at Andrews AFB this evening, after completing a non-stop, cross-country flight from Edwards AFB, CA, according to Lt. General Henry A. "Trey" Obering, Missile Defense Agency director.

June 20, 2007, Andrews AFB, MD--The Airborne
Laser aircraft is scheduled to land at Andrews AFB this evening, after completing a non-stop, cross-country flight from Edwards AFB, CA, according to Lt. General Henry A. "Trey" Obering, Missile Defense Agency director. The aircraft is scheduled to make a night landing at the base just outside Washington, DC near Landover, MD, and will be available tommow for viewing by senior government officials and news media before returning to Edwards AFB tomorrow evening.

The Airborne Laser is a modified Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft that will use a high-energy Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) to generate a directed energy beam to intercept and destroy a hostile ballistic missile during the highly-vulnerable "boost phase" of its trajectory—the first few minutes after it is launched. Advanced tracking lasers will first locate the target missile, measure distance, speed and atmospheric conditions prior to activation of the primary directed energy weapon. The Airborne Laser can also pass information on missile launch sites, target tracks and predicted impact points to other missile defense elements within the integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The chemical laser has had more than 70 successful firings over the past three years, and will be installed aboard the aircraft starting later this year in preparation for the first shootdown of a ballistic missile target scheduled for mid-2009. The Airborne Laser is managed by the Missile Defense Agency's Airborne Laser Program Office at Kirtland AFB, NM, with flight and ground testing conducted at Edwards AFB. The prime contractor is Boeing (Chicago, IL), which provides the aircraft, battle management and overall systems integration and testing. Northrop Grumman (Los Angeles, CA) is developing the high-energy laser and Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD) provides the aircraft's beam control/fire control system.

For more information, contact the Missile Defense Agency.

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