Boeing YAL-1 ( born Boeing YAL-1 (ABL, AirBorne Laser) ) is an experimental combat aircraft capable of destroying various enemy objects using a powerful onboard laser . The aircraft was developed based on the Boeing 747-400 F.
YAL-1A in flight
|Type of||experimental aircraft |
with laser system
|First flight||July 18, 2002|
|End of operation|
|Operators||US Air Force|
|Development program cost||$ 5 billion |
|Base model||Boeing 747-400 F|
It is an element of a system designed primarily for intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead . The main advantage over other means is the ability to destroy launching missiles in the initial section of the flight path .
The program was closed in 2011 due to a reduction in the military budget; in 2014, the aircraft was disposed of.
Initially, the total cost of the US program was estimated at $ 2.5 billion. The work was conducted on a competitive basis, from two industrial teams - Boeing , TRW , Lockheed on the one hand and Rockwell , Hughes , E-Systems on the other,  - it was required to create two prototypes and, after testing, build another 5 aircraft to accommodate two potential theaters of war , where these systems could in the future be used for their intended purpose. In 2006, $ 3 billion was spent, and the full cost of the project is estimated at $ 7-13 billion. The ABL program has been reduced to a demonstration of technology. In 2009, a team of developers, as well as the program’s supervisor during the period 1987-1990, Dr. O'Din Judd became winners of innovation prizes. 
Testing detection and tracking systems
On March 16, 2007, tests were conducted at the US Air Force Base Edwards (California), during which a standard TILL system target laser detected, captured and accompanied a simulator of a working ballistic missile engine mounted on board an NC-135 target aircraft.
On June 6 and 13, 2009, two tests of the target tracking system were successfully carried out ( Terrier-Lynx missiles launched from the US Navy firing range on an island off the coast of California  were used as targets).
On August 10, 2009, successful tests were conducted to detect and simulate target damage  .
On August 18, 2009, the first tests of a megawatt laser in flight were carried out, the radiation was absorbed by a calorimeter installed on board the YAL-1 aircraft  .
Destruction of educational objectives
On February 3, 2010, successful in-flight laser tests were conducted to defeat a solid-fuel ballistic missile.
February 11, 2010 continued testing. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the American Missile Defense Agency , has tested a combat laser in flight to destroy ballistic missiles. According to a press release from the agency  , the laser system was fired at two targets that simulate solid and liquid fuel ballistic missiles in the accelerating section of the trajectory.
Tests of an air-based laser were conducted at the Point Mugu Air Force Base in California. Ballistic missile with LRE launched from a mobile platform at sea. The defeat of the target was carried out in several stages. At the first stage, the target was detected using on-board sensors and the target was followed by a TILL laser beam. Then a BILL laser was used to evaluate the effect of the atmosphere on the accuracy of the hit. After that, a megawatt-class combat laser shot at full power, which heated the rocket to a critical temperature and caused an irreversible violation of its design. Reported damage to the target (the rocket was in the active part of the trajectory). About two minutes passed from the start to the defeat of the target.
Less than an hour after the first missile was hit, a solid-fuel rocket (identical to the one shot down during the February 3 test) was launched from the island of San Nicholas, California, about 100 km from Poin Mugu. Successful defeat and a second target are reported  .
Closing a Program
The program was closed in 2011, due to a reduction in the military budget , - the US Department of Defense recognized the development as not practical and expensive. Laser power by the time the project was closed was brought to a megawatt. [one]
In February 2012 , the aircraft went into storage at the site of the 309th aerospace maintenance and repair group (AMARG), more commonly known as The Boneyard . 
In September 2014 , the aircraft was disposed of.
The main components of the system  :
- The YAL-1 platform is a modified Boeing 747-400 F with a chemical laser mounted in the bow.
- Laser TILL ( Track Illuminator Laser ) - designed to detect and track (highlight) the target, as well as adjust the parameters of the optical system of the laser, with which the target will be hit.
- Laser BILL ( Beacon Illuminator ) - used to compensate for atmospheric distortion.
- Six-module battle laser HEL. The tests used the SHEL simulator ( English Surrogate High Energy Laser ).
- Aviation laser system
- Chemical oxygen-iodine laser
- US Missile Defense
- Laser Avenger 
- Pentagon has closed a missile defense laser development program . Lenta.ru (12/22/2011). Date of treatment December 22, 2011. Archived March 9, 2012.
- Jane's Space Systems and Industry 2007-2008 . / Edited by Bill Sweetman. - Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Information Group , 2007 .-- P. 77 - 487 p. - (Jane's Space Directory Series) - ISBN 0-7106-2813-7 .
- US Missile Defense Authority noted innovators // CNews , 03/30/09
- Tests of the laser missile interceptor reached a climax // CNews, 06/17/09
- Laser missile defense: another test // CNews, 08/14/09
- Laser missile defense: a laser and an onboard calorimeter were tested in flight // CNews, 08.21.09
- Missile Defense Test Agency YAL-1 press release Archived February 15, 2010.
- United States first shot down a ballistic missile with a combat laser . Tape.Ru (02/12/2010). Date of treatment February 23, 2010. Archived March 9, 2012.
- Russia resumed development of a combat laser // Lenta.ru, November 13, 2012
- AL-1A (YAL-1A) ABL . airwar.ru. Date of treatment January 18, 2010. Archived March 9, 2012.
- In the USA, they successfully used a laser against a drone // lenta.ru, 01/27/2009
- Alexander Ignatiev, Anatoly Sumin. A beam on a rocket // vpk-news.ru , April 1, 2009
- Unsuccessful hopes for laser missile defense missile defense // nvo.ng.ru, 2008-03-14
- Old answer to a new laser (inaccessible link) // news.trend.az, 02.20.08
- US combat laser shot down a missile // RIA Novosti