July 13, 2007: Airborne Laser Testing

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

An Airborne Laser demonstrated an engagement sequence using a beacon from the target aircraft and completing a four-day sequence of back-to-back successful missions.

he Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Testbed weapons system was a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser mounted inside a modified Boeing 747-400F. It was primarily designed as a missile defense system to destroy tactical ballistic missiles while in boost phase. The aircraft was designated YAL-1A in 2004 by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The YAL-1 with a low-power laser was test-fired in flight at an airborne target in 2007.  A high-energy laser was used to intercept a test target in January 2010,and the following month, successfully destroyed two test missiles.  Funding for the program was cut in 2010 and the program was canceled in December 2011.It made its final flight on February 14, 2011 to Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to be kept in storage at the "Boneyard" by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group. It was ultimately scrapped in September 2014 after all usable parts were removed.

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