U.S. conducts successful test of anti-ballistic missile laser

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U.S. conducts successful test of anti-ballistic missile laser

WooHoo, not long now till they load them into planes .. But what happens if they have to work during bad weather with cloud and rain?


Monday, November 15, 2004
The United States has reported a successful ground-based test of an airborne laser meant to intercept ballistic missiles.

The Missile Defense Agency said the megawatt-class laser underwent a successful test on Nov. 10. The Pentagon agency said the laser was operated in a ground-based demonstration at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Officials said this marked the first time that a directed energy weapon meant for use in a Boeing 747 aircraft has been demonstrated.

The test, which lasted a fraction of a second, involved the simultaneous firing of all six laser modules and associated optics that comprise the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser. Officials said the modules,built by Northrop Grumman, performed as expected.

Officials said the test was conducted in the framework of the Airborne Laser project.
... Quote:
"It was the first time that multiple modules of the powerful laser had ever been fired while linked together as a single unit, In the test, the laser light produced by the six modules was fired into a wall of metal called a calorimeter or beam dump. The temperature rise of the metal was used to validate that laser power was generated."
the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement on Nov. 10. "

The ABL program has undergone a two-year delay in wake of the failure to develop a laser weapon that could be fitted into the nose of a Boeing 747-400F aircraft. The Pentagon has acknowledged that the laser system developed in 2002 was too heavy for flight.

The ABL, a program expected to reach $4 billion through 2008, has been designed to autonomously detect, track and destroy enemy ballistic missiles.

The high-power laser was meant to focus a basketball-sized spot of heat that can destroy a missile in the boost-phase of launch at a range of hundreds of kilometers.

Officials said the ABL was meant to intercept ballistic missiles from such countries as Iran and North Korea. Israel has expressed interest in the ABL and was said to be seeking to cooperate with the United States in a scaled-down version of the program.

The Nov. 10 test was said to have verified the integration, operation and control of six laser modules in flight configuration. Officials said the laser would be installed in the 747, integrated with the beam control/fire control system and eventually tested in flight.

Officials said the ABL prototype, termed YAL-1A, has resumed preparations for its first flight test. In December 2002, the aircraft was removed from service for modifications to the airframe to ensure the installation of the laser beam control system.

In early 2005, officials said, the ABL Track Illuminator Laser and Beacon Illuminator Laser would be installed. This would be followed by a flight of the YAL-1A that would include the test of the full beam control system.

At a later stage, the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser would be installed on the Boeing 747, followed by additional ground and flight tests. Officials said no date has been set for the first ABL attempt to intercept a ballistic missile.
By netchicken: posted on 16-11-2004

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