The effect of force applied to a 430 micron single fiber, delivering 60 pulses of 308 nm XeCl laser radiation at 20 Hz, on the ablation depth in porcine aortic tissue under saline has been investigated. Energy densities of 8, 15, 25, 28, 31, 37, and 45 mJ/mm2 were used. Force was applied by adding weights from 0 to 10 grams to the fiber. The fiber penetration was monitored by means of a position transducer. At 0 grams, the ablation depth increased linearly with incident energy density, but the fiber did not penetrate the tissue; with any weight added, the fiber penetrated the tissue at energy densities above 15 mJ/mm2. The fiber did not penetrate during the first several pulses, possibly due to gas trapped under the fiber. After these first pulses, a smooth linear advancement of the fiber began, which lasted until the pulse train stopped. The ablation depth increased with increasing energy densities and weights. This effect was largest above 25 mJ/mm2 where the ablation efficiencies (unit mm3/J), with weights added to the fiber, were substantially larger than values found in 308 nm ablation experiments described in the literature, which were conducted with either a focused laser beam or a fiber without additional force. The results imply that in 308 nm excimer laser angioplasty, force must be applied to the beam delivery catheter for efficient recanalization, and that experiments performed with a focused beam or without actual penetration of the fiber do not represent the situation encountered in excimer laser angioplasty.