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Another Delay Forecast for ABL: The timing of the Airborne Laser’s rare venture out of the testing facility (see below) falls at a critical moment for the program, according to officials, as the ABL took a big hit from House authorizers who want to slide some of the program’s funds to other Missile Defense Agency efforts deemed more “mature.” Speaking with reporters after touring the aircraft, ABL program director, Air Force Col. John Daniels gave a grave evaluation of what would happen to the program if the $400 million cut by the House in the Fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill stands. Saying he remains optimistic that lawmakers ultimately will move back some of those funds, he warned that a cut of that magnitude would create a “significant delay” in the program. He said it likely would delay the planned 2009 live missile shootdown by up to two years.