The system, mounted in a modified 747, is designed to track missiles in their boost phase. Although it won’t be ready for test firing at a missile until 2008, it should be operational by the end of the decade. And it looks cool.
In a ceremony at the Boeing Co.’s Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, the agency announced it was ready to flight test some of the low-power systems on the ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F designed to destroy enemy missiles.
Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said he embraced early critics’ comparison of the laser-equipped plane to the Star Wars movies.
“I believe we are building the forces of good to beat the forces of evil. … We are taking a major step in giving the American people their first light saber,” Obering told dignitaries and employees gathered for the ceremony.