On the 16th of January the US arms manufacturer Northrop Grumman opened the first production plant for high-energy military laser systems in Redondo Beach, California. The plant will be specialized in the production of laser based defense systems and high precision weaponry (the press release can be found here).
The weapons produced in the plant include the Airborne Laser (ABL), a 20t oxygen-iod laser (COIL), which is mounted on board a modified Boeing 747-400F airplane, designed to destroy missiles shortly after their launch. The complete weapon system will first tested in 2008.
The plant will also produce the smaller Skyguard Laser Defense System, designed to be mounted on conventional airplanes to protect them against incoming missiles.
The facility will participate in the "Joint High-Power Solid State Laser" (JHPSSL) development program with a 100-kW solid state laser by 2008, mountable on ships, airplanes and vehicles.