Airborne Laser (ABL)

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Airborne Laser (ABL)
« em: Dezembro 06, 2004, 04:02:11 pm »
Airborne Laser Returns to Flight
 
 
(Source: US Missile Defense Agency; issued Dec. 3, 2004)
 
 
 EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --- YAL-1A, the Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft, returned to flight today for the first time in almost two years, equipped with a sophisticated beam control system designed to detect, track, and condition the high energy laser beam used to destroy hostile ballistic missiles soon after launch.  
 
The modified 747-400 freighter aircraft last flew in December 2002, capping a series of test flights that started five months earlier at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.  
 
Today's 22-minute flight, and the next several in the planned series, are designed to begin the flight-certification process necessary any time major modifications are made to an airplane. The flight was confined to the sprawling Edwards test range, located about 110 miles east of Los Angeles. Flight characteristics and air data systems performed as expected. The flight was shorter than originally planned as the crew returned to base to investigate some anomalous instrumentation readings. The team will review the test data in detail and continue the flight test program as planned.  
 
The current series of tests will last about four months. After that, the aircraft will be taken out of service again for installation of ABL's two illuminator lasers.  
 
ABL is a component of MDA's boost-phase segment designed to destroy enemy missiles soon after they are launched to provide a defense of the United States, its international allies, or its deployed troops.  
 
The beam control complex installed aboard ABL over the last two years is the most sophisticated of the major ABL systems, which include the aircraft itself, a battle management suite, and an array of high energy and illuminator lasers.  
 
When complete, ABL will be the first combat aircraft relying entirely upon a directed energy device as a weapon.

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Airborne Laser (ABL)
« Responder #1 em: Dezembro 06, 2004, 04:03:04 pm »
Boeing Airborne Laser Team Achieves First Flight
 
 
(Source: US Missile Defense Agency; issued Dec. 3, 2004)
 
 
 ST. LOUIS --- The Boeing Airborne Laser (ABL) team flew an aircraft equipped with the integrated battle management and Beam Control/Fire Control (BC/FC) systems for the first time at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Dec. 3.  
 
Boeing is the prime contractor and systems integrator for the ABL weapon system, which places a megawatt-class, high-energy Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser on a Boeing 747-400F aircraft to detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase of flight. ABL also can pass information on launch site, target track and predicted impact to other layers of the global ballistic missile defense system.  
 
"This is a significant technological achievement in the ABL program and demonstrates the continued steady flow of progress we've been making." said Jim Evatt, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.  
 
The ABL aircraft conducted initial airworthiness and battle management testing in 2002 after extensive modification from a civil freighter to the first airborne platform to house a megawatt-class directed energy weapon system. Following those successful tests, it was delivered to Edwards AFB in late 2002 to begin further weapon systems installation.  
 
"We will continue flight tests to validate the integrated operation of the battle management and beam control segments and to ensure our expectations regarding vibration and its effect on the system are within the acceptable tolerances," Evatt said.  
 
ABL is a key component of the government's overall ballistic missile defense architecture. In an operational scenario, the ABL 's sensor system will detect and track an enemy's boosting missile, determine its position and destroy it with the high energy laser. The ABL 's sensor system also identifies the launch location and predicts the impact location, which is communicated to other assets in the missile defense architecture.  
 
Boeing is the weapon system integrator for ABL and provides the modified aircraft and battle management segments. Other ABL partners include Northrop-Grumman, which provides the laser segment and Lockheed Martin, which provides the BC/FC segment.  
 
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« Responder #2 em: Dezembro 14, 2004, 10:46:26 pm »
Airborne Laser Conducts Extended Flight Test
 
 
(Source: US Air Force; issued Dec. 13, 2004)
 
 
 EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --- YAL-1A, the Airborne Laser aircraft, flew for 2 hours and 31 minutes here Dec. 9. The flight was part of a continuing series to re-establish airworthiness, a requirement since the aircraft has been out of service for almost two years for modifications and installation of the laser’s complex beam control system.  
 
While the aircraft was flying, engineers in the system integration lab here were preparing for the second lasing test of the megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser.  
 
Six laser modules were linked as a single unit and fired for the first time on Nov. 10, producing photons that make up the powerful beam.  
 
If held on an attacking ballistic missile long enough, the beam will produce structural failure on the missile’s metal skin, destroying it before it can release its warhead.  
 
However, the laser’s power is only part of the equation. To be effective as a missile killer, the beam must be held on the target for several seconds. This is a function of the beam control system, which will be tested as soon as airworthiness has been certified.  
 
As the test program progresses, two illuminator lasers will be installed, along with a low-power laser which will be used as a substitute until the high-energy laser can be integrated into the system. When the more powerful system is performing to expectations, it will be installed on the aircraft so it too can be tested in flight and on the ground with the beam control system.  
 
The Airborne Laser is one of the boost-phase segments of the overall plan to make the United States, its allies and its deployed troops safe from ballistic missile attack.  
 
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« Responder #3 em: Maio 23, 2005, 11:42:38 pm »
Airborne Laser Conformal Window Exposed During Flight  
 
 
(Source: US Missile Defense Agency; issued May 20, 2005)
 
 
 Air Force Lt. General Henry “Trey” Obering, Missile Defense Agency Director, announced today that the Airborne Laser’s 1.7-meter-wide conformal window was successfully exposed during flight for the first time, a maneuver necessary for the weapon system to complete its future mission of shooting down a ballistic missile during the boost phase.  
 
The conformal window exposure occurred on May 17 during the eighteenth flight in the current test series for the Airborne Laser aircraft. The window, which is shaped like a huge contact lens, took five years to manufacture and is one of the most complex optics ever developed.  
 
It is mounted in a rotating turret-ball assembly on the nose of the Airborne Laser aircraft. During takeoff and landing, the window is rotated into the “stowed” position where it is protected by a gasket and shield. During an operational mission, three of the four lasers that propagate outside the aircraft, including the megawatt-class “killer” laser, are fired through the conformal window.  
 
Although the lasers have not yet been installed aboard the aircraft, the exposure test, referred to as “unstowing the turret ball,” is an important part of the flight test series being conducted this year.  
 
The Airborne Laser is one of the boost-phase segments of the overall integrated missile defense system, being developed to defend the United States, its allies and its deployed troops from ballistic missile attack.  
 
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« Responder #4 em: Agosto 03, 2005, 01:59:35 pm »
Airborne Laser Completes Initial Passive Testing
 
 
(Source: US Missile Defense Agency; issued August 1, 2005)
 
 
 EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Air Force Lieutenant General Henry “Trey” Obering, III, Director, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), today announced the YAL-1A, the Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft, completed a critical phase of its flight test program on July 26, culminating a highly successful eight-month series of flight tests and demonstrating the performance of the ABL’s sophisticated battle management and beam control/fire control systems.  
 
The end of the Low Power System Integration-Passive (LPSI-P) phase of tests represents a significant milestone in the ABL’s development program and sets the stage for the aircraft’s return to Boeing’s Wichita, Kansas facility for final modification prior to installation of the advanced high-power Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Laser (COIL) aboard the aircraft.  
 
The program’s LPSI-P phase has been marked by a number of highly successful “firsts,” including un-stowing and pointing the laser turret, demonstrating the aircraft’s passive missile launch detection sensors and engagement software, expanding the aircraft’s operating envelope and collecting in-flight data on a wide variety of aircraft subsystems.  
 
“I could not be prouder of the entire ABL team – contractor and government alike – in getting LPSI-P done.” says Colonel John Daniels, the ABL System Program Director. “It is truly amazing how much we’ve been able to accomplish in the past eight months. We have a long way to go, but we’ve made incredible progress so far.”  
 
Upon its return to Wichita, the YAL-1A will begin the Low Power System Integration–Active (LPSI-A) phase of testing. During LPSI-A, the aircraft will undergo a series of final modifications and flight/ground tests to demonstrate its ability to detect and track targets before installation of the advanced Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Laser (COIL).  
 
The ABL will be the first combat aircraft relying entirely upon a directed energy device as a weapon. It is designed to use directed energy to destroy a ballistic missile target shortly after it is launched, called the boost phase of flight.  
 
When it begins operations, the ABL will be an integral part of a layered ballistic missile defense that will be capable of destroying a ballistic missile of any range, during any phase of its flight.  
 
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« Responder #5 em: Agosto 25, 2005, 10:43:27 pm »
Airborne Laser Brings Star Wars one Step Closer
New York Times - Free Registration Required  |  August 25, 2005

A U.S. Pentagon invention could make air combat resemble a battle scene from Star Wars, with a laser so small it can fit on a fighter jet, yet powerful enough to knock down an enemy missile in flight. The High Energy Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS), being designed by the Pentagon's central research and development agency, will weigh just 750 kg (1,650 lb) and measures the size of a large fridge. To date, such lasers have been so bulky because of the need for huge cooling systems to stop them overheating, that they had to be fitted to large aircraft such as jumbo jets, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday. But the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency reckons it has solved the problem by merging liquid and solid state lasers to cut the size and weight by "an order of magnitude," according to its Web site.
 

 

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