ABL Gets a New Test Unit:

The Air Force has activated a new unit at Edwards AFB, Calif., to take over test duties for the Airborne Laser, designated YAL-1A. The sole function of the new 417th Flight Test Squadron will be to conduct the ABL test program. Previously ABL testing fell under the 452nd FTS, which oversees flight testing of Predator and Global Hawk UAVs. The standup of the new squadron formalizes the priority for the program for the 412th Test Wing, according to Lt. Col. Barry St. Germain. The squadron will include about 750 personnel, including contractors. Currently, the YAL1A is in Wichita, Kan., receiving modifications to the sub-structure of the aircraft to accommodate the integration of the weapons system—scheduled for completion by the end of the calendar year.