Front Page
Boeing Frontiers
April 2004
Volume 02, Issue 11
Boeing Frontiers
Main Feature

Harold B. Schall
Laser-like focus on his team

Harold B. SchallHarold B. Schall, Boeing chief engineer for integration & test on the Airborne Laser program, is nationally regarded as one of the brightest minds in high-energy laser beam control and adaptive optics.

Studying physics and laser spectroscopy as an undergraduate, he earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the mid-1980s. This was the age of the so-called "Star Wars" missile defense policy, and Schall wanted to discover how his academic learnings could benefit programs designed to safeguard the United States.

And did he ever. Today, this newly named Senior Technical Fellow is one of a few U.S. scientists who has personally developed and integrated these complex systems using his years of hands-on experience.

"I guess I was more interested in applied science, and that's what drove me to industry," said Schall, who works for the Missile Defense Systems unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. While there, "I became extremely interested in advanced electrooptical system development."

It's on these teams that Schall's talents have sparkled. Because of his recognition by those in the directed-energy weapon community, the Airborne Laser senior science advisory board tapped him to support Team ABL member Lockheed Martin's beam control development program. IDS is responsible for overall ABL program management, systems integration, and supply of the 747-400 Freighter aircraft that will carry this "speed-of-light" weapon system, while Northrop Grumman Space Technology is designing, developing and producing ABL's high-energy laser.

Since 1999, Schall has been a valued member of Lockheed's ABL team. He's been so valued, in fact, that Lockheed ABL Program Director Paul Shattuck wrote a letter recommending Schall be named a Senior Technical Fellow, a task he called "an honor and privilege."

Harold B. Schall

A bright mind in lasers
Career field: High-Energy Laser Beam Control, Adaptive Optics, Large-Scale System Integration and Test
Organization: Missile Defense Systems, West Hills, Calif.
Company service: 9 years
Education: Education: Doctorate in physical chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985; bachelor's degree in chemistry, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1980
Publications: 10
Schall has "an unbelievable set of technical skills and breadth of knowledge in this particular area," Shattuck said. "He knew things at an extreme level of detail, but he would back up and look at the big picture of systems engineering. And that's a combination you don't find very often."

Shattuck was so impressed with Schall's work and his "there-is-no-I-in-team" approach that he assigned the Boeing engineer to work directly with Lockheed's ABL subcontractors for technical management. That's no small thing, either, considering that Boeing and Lockheed are fierce competitors on some programs.

"I wouldn't do that unless I had complete confidence that he would do what was best for the program," said Shattuck. Schall, he said, "is somebody who came in here and set aside who he was working for and became a member of the team. He put the team and product ahead of the company."

In addition to his role on ABL, Schall leads the development of advanced adaptive optics technologies that will enable compact laser weapon systems and support laser communication applications. He holds numerous company and industry awards, but he's most proud of his work on the ABL program. "This system is certainly transformational," he said, "providing the nation with a boost-phase missile defense capability."

—Maureen Jenkins


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