Airborne Laser Tested at Edwards


Laser Packed 747 Prepares for Firing Demonstration

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], industry teammates and the U.S.Missile Defense Agency have begun Airborne Laser (ABL) flight tests with the entire weapon system integrated aboard the ABL aircraft. On April 21, 2009 the team completed the functional check flight April 21 from Edwards Air Force Base with the beam control/fire control system and the high-energy laser onboard, confirming the aircraft is airworthy, ready for more airborne tests and on track for its missile-intercept demonstration this year.

In December 2008 the entire Airborne Laser (ABL) weapon system was tested on the ground, abroad the specially configured ABL Boeing 747-400F platform. During the test at Edwards Air Force Base, the laser beam traveled through the beam control / fire control system before exiting the aircraft through the nose-mounted turret. The beam control / fire control system steered and focused the beam onto a simulated ballistic missile target.

Since 2005 the program performed extensive testing series at Edwards AFB, including the demonstration of lethal levels of duration and power, in 2005; target tracking and measurements required for compensation for atmospheric conditions, and the delivery of a surrogate high-energy laser’s simulated lethal beam on the target. By September 2008 the program performed the first firing of a high-energy laser in flight, measured on board as the laser was fired into a calorimeter abroad the aircraft.

Boeing is the prime contractor for the ABL program. Northrop Grumman delivered the chemical laser on board, with Lockheed Martin providing the beam control and fire control system. Boeing designed the battle management system for ABL.


Additional part of the article: Missile Intercept Test Culminates a Successful Year for Missile Defense: