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Airborne Laser Gears Up for Next Shoot-down Test
Space News ^ | 6/18/2010 | Turner Brinton

Posted on 06/21/2010 1:28:20 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld

The Pentagon’s Airborne Laser (ABL) is being prepared for a late July test in which it will attempt to shoot down an ascending target missile from twice the distance of the aircraft’s previous intercept tests, the program’s top official said.

Originally conceived as an operational military system that would use a high-power chemical laser to destroy ballistic missiles in the early stages of flight, the ABL platform — only one has been built — has been relegated to the role of technology test-bed. The program is funded by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) through September, but its future is uncertain beyond that.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security of St Louis is the ABL prime contractor; Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Los Angeles developed the high-power chemical laser; and Lockheed Martin developed the beam control/fire control system.

The modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft made its long-awaited debut in February. In one test flight, the ABL fired on and destroyed a boosting sounding rocket known as a MARTI. Eight days later, the aircraft succeeded in its first attempt to shoot down a threat-representative, liquid-fueled target missile. During the same flight test, it fired on a second liquid-fueled missile, but a problem caused the weapon system to shut itself down before the target was destroyed. The MDA will not reveal the aircraft’s distance from its target in any of those tests.

The most important lessons from the ABL’s first intercept tests were that it actually worked, and it was more efficient and lethal than expected, said U.S. Air Force Col. Robert McMurry, the MDA’s ABL program manager.

“What I think it’s proven is the beam control system and the atmospheric compensation and the power out of the laser are all working extraordinarily well to put power on target,” McMurry said in a June

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: 747; abl; aerospace; ballisticmissile; bmd; boostphase; chemicallaser; dfense; laser; missiledefense; usaf

1 posted on 06/21/2010 1:28:21 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: 1COUNTER-MORTER-68; Mr. Mojo; James C. Bennett; mowowie; Captain Beyond; darkwing104; JRios1968


2 posted on 06/21/2010 1:29:42 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ( "Fortes fortuna adiuvat"-Fortune Favors the Strong)
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To: sonofstrangelove
What's the point? Defending Greater Mexico?

The Air Force can build all the groovy high tech weapons they want. But what's the use if you simply give up your economy to the chief current threat - China - and let yourself be invaded by a hostile enemy nation - Mexico.

When will the Air Force talk about deploying A-10's to the border? When will they admit that they should be fighting entrenched narco-guerillas in Southern Arizona, who now hold ground in the U.S.?

The military runs multi-culti ads on Armed Forces Networks where they point out that lots of their members were not born in the United States, meaning that you silly Americans don't realize you have no nationality and no country. So who are they building the weapons for, and to what use? Protecting Americans?

Really hard to believe that anymore. They obviously don't believe that such a people exist, and are indifferent to real threats.

3 posted on 06/21/2010 2:17:59 AM PDT by Regulator (Watch Out!! The Americans are On the March!! America Forever, Mexico Never!)
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To: Regulator

You are obivously one of those pre-enlightened nationalists that the current internationalist regime will have to do something about one of these days. /sarc/

4 posted on 06/21/2010 3:54:54 AM PDT by Pecos
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To: sonofstrangelove

Picturing that movie scene where the laser shoots through the wall and through a whole bunch of trees off into the countryside. I hope the range safety officer has taken this into account.

5 posted on 06/21/2010 4:10:42 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("The real death threat is their legislation" Rush Limbaugh, 3/25/10)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I thought Obama and McCain had canceled this program. I am glad that some progress is still being made on it.

6 posted on 06/21/2010 5:47:48 AM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Hey, Barack "Hubris" Obama, $10 is all it would take, why spend millions to cover it up?)
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To: Pecos

Looking forward to my serene stay in the re-education camp...

7 posted on 06/22/2010 3:22:08 AM PDT by Regulator (Watch Out!! The Americans are On the March!! America Forever, Mexico Never!)
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To: sonofstrangelove
It is unimaginably shortsighted by this administration to cut on missile defense funding as well as not place interceptor missiles in Poland.

Missile defense (long range missiles with WMD), as well as cyber warfare, terrorism, and Information Operations are the new great frontiers in modern war especially against the less industrial, technologically advanced rouge type states. May it be Iran, Libya, Syria, N. Korea...... it is those four aspects with which nations without the real means to project major ground forces reach out and touch you.

- Terrorism
- Cyber warfare
- Information Operations
- Ballistic missiles

Already in the late 80s it became apparent that this was an emerging threat in decades to come, and today with the availability as well as cost of certain key technologies, rouge states like Iran/Syria “can” realistically develop longer range theater or even intercontinental systems and there is a reason why Israel in conjunction with Raytheon developed the Arrow system. Even the Schroeder/Fischer administration and at the height of the anti-American politics in Germany of recent, they still behind closed doors bought Patriot PAC3, joined as a member of MEADS, and are part of the SM-3 program as well as supported the stationing of interceptor missiles as long as they were assured that under NATO they too would be covered by this program. The point is that while some want to see no threat (The Cold War is over and they want nothing like it again), while some might play the anti-American card for their own political benefit as Schroeder surely did, the reality is that they still within their security establishment and those leaders playing these games perceive the threat. The German government on one side of their mouth was screaming about a new arms race, destabilization, and American hegemony and unilateral behavior, and on the other side they were jumping on board with all these programs and demanded assurances they too be protected under this same program they were condemning publicly!

Today we in the US have an administration that in a similar fashion as Germany some years past is playing political games with a major tenet of national security. For political reasons our counter terrorism and missile defense positions are weakened because ultimately it's a popular view and the money can be used elsewhere to essentially buy votes. It's shortsighted and irresponsible.

8 posted on 06/27/2010 9:42:03 AM PDT by Red6 (Where's my stuff? I want some more stuff too Mr. President!)
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