The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) program is a US military program to mount a high energy laser damage weapon on an aircraft, initially the AC-130 gunship, for use against ground targets in urban or other areas where minimizing collateral damage is important. The laser will be a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL). It is expected to have a tactical range of approximately twenty kilometers and weigh about 5,000–7,000 kg.
In 2002, the Special Operations Command entered into a contract with The Boeing Company, specifically the Lasers and Electro-Optics Systems division in West Hills, CA to produce a prototype laser system on a test aircraft. This effort was heavily supported by Boeing-SVS Inc. in Albuquerque, NM.
On January 18, 2006, the U.S. Air Force's 46th Test Wing handed over to Boeing a C-130H Hercules transport aircraft for use in the ATL program. Both the laser and the aircraft have undergone testing in the summer of 2006 culminating in the systems joint combined tests in 2007 with full-scale development afterwards.
On August 13, 2008 Boeing announced the first test firing of the "high-energy chemical laser mounted in a Hercules transport plane. The test firing was controlled via the ATL beam control system, which acquired a ground target and fired as "directed by ATL's battle managerment system." The ATL weighs 12,000 pounds. Boeing said that the laser hit a 3 by 3 foot target at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.
- ''Boeing Begins Flight Tests and Laser Firings for Laser Gunship Program'', Boeing News release.
- ''Lasers: The Light Brigade'', Strategic Affairs Magazine article.
- "US boasts of laser weapon's 'plausible deniability'", NewScientistTech article.