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The AL-1B is a missile interceptor aircraft. The aircraft is a modified 747-400 with a laser equipped to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles.

History

The United States Air Force and United States Department of Defense have tested airborne laser weapons to be used against ballistic missiles ever since the 1980s.[1]

The official Airborne Laser program was initiated in 1996[2], and the first 747-400 with a laser attached, together known as a YAL-1 aircraft, successfully took off on July 18, 2002. The YAL-1's laser completed a successful ground test in 2004, and, on March 15, 2007, the YAL-1 successfully destroyed a target in flight with its laser.[3]

The success of the program led to the mass development of AL-1 units. The United Nations Forces acquired at least one AL-1B variant, and deployed it in battle during Operation Point Blanc against the USEA Federation to destroy any ICBMs launched from Avalon Dam, Russia. However, this AL-1B was targeted by unidentified hostile forces and shot down prior to one ICBM launch from the facility, prompting Reaper to shoot down the missile instead.[4]

Trivia

  • In real life, as of December 2011, the Airborne Laser program officially ended after the system was deemed far too costly for operational status.[5] The single YAL-1 in existence flew its final flight on February 14, 2012 to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where it currently resides in storage.[6]
    • Clearly, Infinity assumes that the project would not have been canceled in the aftermath of the Ulysses Disaster. In fact, AL-1s could have served a similar role to the Arkbird in cleaning Earth's atmosphere of meteors.
  • In standard aviation monikers, the Y prefix indicates experimental. Therefore, the deployment of an AL-1B implies mass production of the experimental model.
  • The Infinity update that added the Avalon mission to the game was applied one day before the 12th anniversary of the YAL-1's maiden flight on July 18, 2002.

References

  1. Airborne Laser Laboratory. globalsecurity.org.
  2. Airborne Laser Background presentation. boeing.com
  3. Airborne Laser fires tracking laser, hits target. Air Force.
  4. Avalon (mission). Ace Combat Infinity.
  5. Lights Out For The Airborne Laser. Aviation Week.
  6. Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB). Facebook.
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