[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 53 (Monday, March 20, 1995)]
[Page 14737]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-6721]

[[Page 14737]]


Department of the Air Force

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Airborne Laser Demonstration Phase

AGENCIES: Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Air Force 
Materiel Command, Space and Missile Systems Center, Phillips 
Laboratory, DOD.


SUMMARY: The United States Air Force (USAF) will prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess the potential impacts of 
the Demonstrator Phase of the Airborne Laser (ABL) Program. This 
program is an Air Force Advanced Technology Demonstration program to 
develop and then demonstrate the necessary technologies required to 
acquire, track, and then destroy theater ballistic missiles during 
boost phase. The ABL Demonstrator Phase includes the design, 
development, integration, and testing of a weapons-class Chemical 
Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) on the aircraft. The ABL Demonstrator Phase 
is scheduled to begin in January 1997 and be completed by the end of 
2001. The decision to be made by the Air Force, is to determine where 
the ABL Demonstrator Phase test activities will occur.
    The ABL Program will require a Home Base, a Diagnostic Test Range 
and an Expanded-Area Test Range. The Home Base will be the location for 
the ABL Demonstrator Aircraft, its flightline maintenance, ground test 
facilities, fuel storage and transfer, laser pressure recovery systems, 
and technical and support personnel. The Diagnostic Test Range is the 
location for aircraft worthiness and flight certification testing, air 
refueling, modification testing, communication and navigation system 
testing, integrated weapon system checkouts without laser operations, 
short range integrated aircraft and weapons system checkouts and 
engagements with low- and high-power laser operations, short range 
launch and recovery operations, and target and debris recovery. The 
Expanded-Area Test Range is the location for long-range integrated 
aircraft and weapon system checkouts and low- and high-power laser 
operations, and target and debris recovery.
    Alternative sites for the Home Base include Phillips Laboratory at 
Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM, and Edwards AFB near Lancaster, CA. 
Potential Test Ranges include: the Western Test Range adjacent to 
Vandenberg AFB near Lompoc, CA; White Sands Missile Range near Las 
Cruces, NM; and Edwards AFB near Lancaster, CA.
    The Air Force is planning to conduct a series of scoping meetings 
to assist in determining the issues to be analyzed in depth in the EIS, 
and to involve the public to help the USAF identify those areas of 
concern. Comments received as a result of the scoping process will be 
used to assist in identifying potential impacts to the quality of the 
human environment. To provide a forum for the community to make oral 
comments, scoping meetings are scheduled for:

April 4, 1995, 7 p.m. at the Ramada Classic Hotel, Albuquerque, NM.
April 18, 1995, 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, Las Cruces, NM.
May 3, 1995, 7 p.m. at the Desert Inn, Lancaster, CA.
May 10, 1995, 7 p.m. at the Best Western Porto Finale, Lompoc, CA.

    The purpose of these meetings is to identify the environmental 
issues and concerns that should be analyzed to (1) support the ABL, (2) 
solicit comments on the proposed action and (3) solicit potential 
alternatives for consideration in developing the ABL EIS. Public 
hearings are proposed to be conducted in 1996 for the purpose of 
obtaining comments on the Draft EIS. Dates, times, and places will be 
determined and public notification will be made.
    To ensure the USAF will have sufficient time to consider public 
scoping comments on environmental issues to be included in the Draft 
EIS, and alternatives to be included in the final plan, comments and 
proposals should be forwarded to the address below by May 26, 1995. 
However, comments will be accepted and considered through the process.
    Please direct comments or requests for further information 
concerning the ABL EIS to: Michelle Hedrick, Phillips Laboratory/S,E, 
3550 Aberdeen Ave. S.E., Bldg. 434,Albuquerque, NM 87117-5776, Toll 
free number: 1-800-343-1282.

List of Subjects

    Environmental protection, Environmental impact statement, U.S. Air 
Force, Phillips Laboratory, Notice of intent, Airborne laser, Kirtland 
AFB, Edwards AFB, White Sands Missile Range, Vandenberg AFB.
Patsy J. Conner,
Air Force Federal Register Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. 95-6721 Filed 3-17-95; 8:45 am]