ABL “Hits” Target:

The Airborne Laser employed its target illuminator for the first time during an in-flight test last week, according to a March 21 release from Edwards AFB, Calif. During the five-hour flight, Edward’s NC-135E test aircraft verified that the ABL’s illuminator had indeed successfully tracked an airborne target and measured airborne turbulence. “It’s the first time we’ve actually had photons leaving the airplane in flight,” stated Lt. Col. Michel Zumwalt, 417th Flight Test Squadron ABL Combined Test Force operations officer. He called the test a “big step” toward meeting knowledge points for the program.