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March 11, 2010

Star Wars weapons are not so far... USAF Airborne Laser YAL-1A


On photo (US Air Force photo by Kellie Masters) : USAF Airborne Laser YAL-1A, a modified 747-400F, takes off from Edwards AFB. The aircraft's target illuminator laser fired for the first time.

With eight years of delay and billions of dollars over budget, finally the highly modified Boeing 747-400, designated YAL-1A, performed the feat on February 11at 8:44 PM Pacific time at the Point Mugu naval air warfare center sea range off California, shooting down a liquid-fueled, Scud-like target. The intercept sequence took place within two minutes of the target being fired.
In the same day, ABL also engaged a solid fuel missile, fired from San Nicolas Island. The target was engaged, but ABL stopped the lasing sequence before it was destroyed. None knows if there was a failure in the lasing sequence or if the interruption has been voluntary.

Technological keys :
  • ABL uses a high-power chemical laser to project energy on the target. One of the key features is a deformable mirror, which modifies the laser wavefront when it exits the 747’s distinctive nose to assure the laser energy is deposited on the target most effectively.
  • Target is detected using an infrared sensor.
  • A lower-power laser tracking illuminator laser (TILL) and beacon illuminator laser (BILL) are used to create the firing solution for the high-power chemical oxygen iodine laser to engage.
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Posted via web from Sotreta's Box


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