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Can’t Get an ABL Number, but $13B Is Off the Mark: According to Air Force Col. John Daniels, Missile Defense Agency program lead on the Airborne Laser, the oft-quoted figure of $13 billion for the ABL program is wrong. He told a Marshall Institute roundtable audience that the $13 billion included not only development costs but also the cost for seven production aircraft and their operations and support costs over 20-30 years. Unfortunately, Daniels said it’s “hard to yank that out” of ABL brochures. He would not, however, offer a counter figure. Plans now call for MDA to build a second, improved ABL, said Daniels, adding that, until the agency completes studies on just how different the new aircraft will be, he cannot provide revised program costs.