The United States continues to develop laser weapons. These weapons will be designed to hit both ballistic missiles and ground targets. A laser gun on board Hercules aircraft successfully destroyed a vehicle in the course of tests conducted in New Mexico, Boeing said. A C-130H attacked a ground target from the air over White Sands Missile Range.
“The first flight of the Advanced Tactical Laser aircraft was designed primarily as a learning test bed and to demonstrate its feasibility,” a Boeing spokesman said.
The first test of the airborne laser took place on July 13, 2009.
The works to develop laser weapons in the United States began during the 1970s. In 2003, the US Special Operations Command signed a contract with Boeing Company to develop the airborne laser. The first tests of the newly designed system were conducted in the summer of 2006. However, it took US engineers three more years to prove that their efforts had not been taken in vain.
The USA currently tests the abilities of the airborne laser to attack ballistic missiles.
"This milestone demonstrates that directed energy weapon systems will transform the battlespace and save lives by giving warfighters a speed-of-light, ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage," said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "By demonstrating this capability, the ATL team has earned a distinguished place in the history of weapon system development."
The USA will proceed with testing the capabilities of the airborne lasers in attacking moving targets. As soon as the new weapon is tested in combat conditions, the Pentagon will start working with orders for laser systems.
Alexander Khramchikhin, the director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said the United States will most likely add the new laser weapons to its arsenal already in the future.
“It is only a question of time, although it may take quite a long time. A great deal of technical problems will need to be solved before the nation launches the serial production of the airborne laser. The present-day laser systems are very heavy. Engineers now work on reducing the weight and the size of the complex. The price is another problem. However, all of these problems will most likely be solved as time goes by,” the specialist said.
The USA obviously needs the new weapon to maintain its global supremacy against the background of the ongoing struggle on the markets of raw materials.
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