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Airborne Laser faces uncertain future despite historic intercept test
Flightglobal.com ^ | 2/17/2010 | Stephen Trimble

Posted on 02/17/2010 9:48:12 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

The Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) faces an uncertain future as both a research project and an operational system even after its 1MW-class chemical laser successfully - and historically - destroyed a ballistic missile off the California coast on 11 February.

The long-awaited intercept test proved that the modified Boeing 747-400F's key technology - a chemical oxygen iodine laser (Coil) invented by US Air Force researchers in 1977 - is a lethal weapon against ballistic missiles.

A week before the ballistic intercept, the ALTB shot down a Terrier Black Brant, a two-stage sounding rocket that presents faster and smaller target to the Lockheed Martin-supplied beam and fire control system.

Moving the ALTB out of the research environment, however, remains an open question. Despite passing a historic milestone for a directed energy weapons system, the intercept was completed in a sterile test environment. Moreover, the Missile Defense Agency classified the range of the test and obscured the length of time required to defeat the target, making it unclear how well the Coil technology really performed.

Mike Rinn, Boeing vice-president and general manager for missile defence programmes, believes the lethal demonstration opens the door for high energy lasers to become operational weapons.

"As we show things like we did last night, decisions can be made about whether this platform or some future platform or some incarnation of the current technology can be an operational system," Rinn says.

But Rinn's top customer - Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - remains opposed to making the $6 billion programme operational. In 2009 Gates cancelled the second Airborne Laser aircraft and downgraded the programme from operational prototype to testbed status.

The programme now remains in limbo, awaiting the results of future budget decisions.

(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: 747; abl; altb; bmd; boeing; chemicallaser; laser; lasercannon; missiledefense; usairforce

1 posted on 02/17/2010 9:48:13 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: Jet Jaguar

Ping.


2 posted on 02/17/2010 9:53:42 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Army Air Corps

BTTT


3 posted on 02/17/2010 9:54:48 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: sonofstrangelove

I ranted and raved on another thread about how we can’t seem to get technology in the air and how we have become collectively safety cowards.

In less than a generation, we will be bowing and bowing/scraping to the Chicoms and Russkies, since our weapon systems will be backward-looking and useless.

IMHO.


4 posted on 02/17/2010 9:57:37 PM PST by freedumb2003 (Communism comes to America: 1/20/2009. Keep your powder dry, folks. Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I will be so damn pissed if they cancel this program. they need to ACCELERATE IT, DAMMIT!


5 posted on 02/17/2010 9:58:30 PM PST by pissant (THE Conservative party: www.falconparty.com)
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6 posted on 02/17/2010 9:59:03 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove
"But Rinn's top customer - Secretary of Defense Robert Gates - remains opposed to making the $6 billion programme operational."

Secretary Gates explained, "The current administration really, really hates the military.

We prefer talking and bowing for defense."

7 posted on 02/17/2010 9:59:16 PM PST by TheClintons-STILLAnti-American
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To: TheClintons-STILLAnti-American

Why does Gates grow some balls and really hand it to the President?


8 posted on 02/17/2010 10:01:10 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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Gates should tell the President to stop living in a fantasy world and the situation is dire.


9 posted on 02/17/2010 10:02:34 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: pissant

Fear not, The One will kill it.


10 posted on 02/17/2010 10:03:35 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: TheClintons-STILLAnti-American

Maybe ACORN can fund it with the billions headed their way.


11 posted on 02/17/2010 10:06:16 PM PST by budwiesest (It's that girl from Alaska, again.)
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To: sonofstrangelove
invented Perfected by US Air Force researchers in 1977
12 posted on 02/17/2010 10:07:01 PM PST by eyedigress ((Old storm chaser from the west)?)
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To: All
The Obama Administration will DISARM America at any cost.

13 posted on 02/17/2010 10:08:03 PM PST by pyx (Rule#1.The LEFT lies.Rule#2.See Rule#1. IF THE LEFT CONTROLS THE LANGUAGE, IT CONTROLS THE ARGUMENT.)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Another mostly complete, successful system, like the F-22 and project Constellation that hussein will kill for sure.
14 posted on 02/17/2010 10:08:06 PM PST by Tolsti2
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To: Tolsti2

You said it all. The one can not see past the end of his nose. If it ain’t socialist it ain’t on hes to do list.


15 posted on 02/17/2010 10:25:02 PM PST by oldenuff2no
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To: sonofstrangelove

It works!

Obama: “cancel it”


16 posted on 02/17/2010 10:28:10 PM PST by hattend (The era of John McCain is over, the era of Ronald Reagan is back! Go Sarah Go!)
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To: sonofstrangelove
I wish we could just shut up about it and loiter it over the Mid East and zap some diaper heads. When the Iranians test fire a rocket, we test our laser.

I can't understand why everyone must know everything during a war. As far as I'm concerned, we could ductape a garbage can on the front of a 747 and "whisper" that we have a death ray now.

17 posted on 02/17/2010 11:07:22 PM PST by chuckles
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To: eyedigress

RADICL, Research Assessment, Device Improvement Chemical Laser, is a 20 kW COIL laser tested by the United States Air Force in around 1998


18 posted on 02/17/2010 11:13:04 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Gates should tell the President to stop living in a fantasy world and the situation is dire.

He won't because Gates is a pliable apparatchik.

19 posted on 02/17/2010 11:26:57 PM PST by Red Steel
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To: Tolsti2
Here's the idiot telling everyone what he would do...you can include NASA in his statement:

"IN 52 SECS BARACK OBAMA SAID HE WOULD CUT AMERICA'S MILITARY DEFENSE SYSTEMS"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl32Y7wDVDs

20 posted on 02/17/2010 11:30:52 PM PST by Red Steel
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To: Red Steel

The man has no guts.


21 posted on 02/17/2010 11:31:07 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

What about babies with laser eyes?

http://babieswithlasereyes.com/


22 posted on 02/21/2010 9:45:24 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine
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