Air Force News

Air Force certifies ABL program ready for aircraft modifications

Released: 15 Dec 1999

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Air Force certified to Congress recently that the airborne laser program is on track and ready for its next major step: the start of extensive modifications on a prototype ai rcraft.

The prototype, which will use a basic Boeing 747-400 freighter airframe, rolled off the assembly line Dec. 13 in Everett, Wash.

As a result of this latest approval, the aircraft will fly to Wichita, Kan., in January to begin modifications that will take approximately 18 months. The final aircraft will be a YAL-1A Attack Laser, designed to carry a laser that can destroy missiles from hundreds of miles away.

Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters' certification, in the form of a report to Congress, ended a two-week series of technical and programmatic presentations to senior Air Force and Department of Defense officials at the Pentagon by Col. Mike Booen, program director for the airborne laser.

In the report, Peters certified the ABL program continues to meet or exceed every technical and programmatic milestone and remains on-cost and on-schedule.

The Air Force certification report detailed the airborne laser's progress in five technical areas identified in an independent assessment team report delivered to Congress in March.

Those technical areas include: 1) the North Oscura Peak test program; 2) scintillometry data collection and analysis; 3) the lethality/vulnerability program; 4) the countermeasures test and analysis effort; and 5) reduction and analysis of atmospheric data for fiscal years 1997 and 1998.


** Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters
** Air Force Research Laboratory