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The Airborne tactical Laser is a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) sponsored Advanced Concept Technology demonstration (ACTD) program, designed to demonstrate the use of high power tactical lasers from an airborne platform.
Under the program, a chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL) will be installed on a modified C-130H transport aircraft, simulating a future AC-130 laser equipped gunship. The airborne tactical laser will be able to destroy, damage or disable targets at tactical ranges with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. The laser will be able to place a 10-centimeter-wide beam with enough energy to melt and slice through a metal target from a distance of 15 kilometers.
The United States Defence Department has developed a prototype of an aircraft armed with a laser gun that could destroy tanks 10 miles away.
The ten-centimetre-wide beam will heat targets almost instantly to thousands of degrees and will slice through metal even at maximum range. It is intended both for battlefield use and for missile defense.
It is anticipated the beam will be adjustable, allowing the gunner to choose between, for example, targeting a vehicle's fuel tank to destroy it utterly, or slice through a tyre to bring it to a halt without injuring the driver.
The laser will be housed in a rotating turret attached to the underside of the aircraft and will be aimed independently of the plane. Early tests have focused on testing the rotation of the laser housing.
Originally posted by Iblis
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