Testing ABL:

Boeing is running low power ground tests for the Airborne Laser, Greg Hyslop, vice president of Boeing’s missile defense systems, said Tuesday at AFA’s Air and Space Conference. Hyslop explained, “The meat of what we are doing is testing the software and hardware” of the beam technology, which includes sampling the light to see what it would look like if it hit a target. For the tests, Boeing installs an illuminator laser and beam control and then runs the laser through a tube on the right side of the aircraft, altering atmospheric conditions without changing altitude. These ground tests form the beam track, firing what Hyslop calls a “surrogate” beam. Next up is a full missile intercept test scheduled for late 2008, Hyslop said.