The Air Force today announced a $1.1 billion contract was
awarded to Boeing Defense and Space Group, Seattle, Wash., to
produce a prototype Attack Laser-aircraft capable of destroying
theater ballistic missiles.
Under a cost-plus award fee contract, Boeing will produce
the newly designated YAL-1A, or prototype Attack Laser-
aircraft, using a commercial 747-400F airframe by the fall of
2002. Boeing is teamed with two other companies: TRW Space and
Electronics Group, Redondo Beach, Calif., which will develop the
laser, and Lockheed-Martin Missiles & Space, Sunnyvale, Calif.,
which will be in charge of beam- and fire-control development.
Boeing will manage systems integration, aircraft modifications,
and the development of battle management systems (computers and
software coupled to communications, intelligence and weapons-
related instrumentation to detect, engage and defeat the
This award, which is also termed an Airborne Laser Program
Definition and Risk Reduction contract, culminates a two-year
concept definition phase in which the Boeing team competed with
another team led by Rockwell International. The two companies
have been defining a high-energy airborne laser system to defend
against theater ballistic missiles during their "boost" phase, or
that portion of a missile's flight when it is still under power.
An airborne Attack Laser could circle over friendly airspace
while able to destroy multiple tactical ballistic missiles
shortly after they are launched hundreds of miles away.
This contract includes detailed design, integration and test
of the YAL-1A, with delivery of the 747-400F aircraft to Wichita,
Kan., for modification in the spring of 1999. The contract will
culminate with the destruction of a boosting theater ballistic
missile by the fall of 2002.
A follow-on contract of approximately $4.5 billion to
complete engineering, manufacturing, development and production
efforts of a seven aircraft fleet will be awarded following
successful completion of the PDRR contract. The first three
aircraft are expected by 2006 and the full seven aircraft fleet
The program office is located at Kirtland Air Force Base,
N.M., and is supported by technology development and support from
the Air Force Phillips Laboratory's Laser and Imaging
Directorate. Additional information can be obtained from the
Phillips Laboratory Office of Public Affairs at Kirtland AFB,