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A high-power neodymium-doped yttrium lithium fluoride (Nd:YLF) mode-locked 1.5-GHz laser currently used to drive the two photoinjectors of the Compact Linear Collider Test Facility project at the European Organization for Nuclear Research is described. A phenomenological characterization of the two powerful Nd:YLF amplifiers is presented and compared with the measurements. The laser system operates in a saturated steady-state mode. This mode provides good shot-to-shot stability with pulse train mean power in the 10 kW range.