Boeing completed the first flight of the YAL-1A Airborne Laser (ABL) on 18 July. The ABL is a modified 747-400F equipped with a nose-mounted turret for directing the laser and a upper fuselage-mounted laser targeting pod. The ABL programme is designed to intercept ballistic missiles in the boost phase of flight. The first flight from Boeing's Wichita facility lasted 2h and evaluated the aircraft's aerodynamic performance and systems operation. Later this year the aircraft will be delivered to Edwards AFB, California, for equipping with the laser system.

Source: Flight International