Airborne Laser (YAL-1A) to test-fire in flight at Edwards AFFTC

Message posted by Norio Hayakawa on January 29, 2007 at 14:55:31 PST:

I thought this was pretty interesting:

Airborne Laser to test-fire in flight

Staff report
Posted : Monday Jan 29, 2007 11:07:44 EST

The YAL-1A, a modified Boeing 747-400F known as the Airborne Laser, will test-fire its low-power laser in flight for the first time as part of a long-term test phase at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., according to an Air Force report.

The Airborne Laser, part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, is designed to identify, track and shoot down enemy ballistic missiles shortly after they launch.

In the current test phase, which is happening throughout the next several months, the ABL will fire its two solid-state illuminator lasers at the NC-135E “Big Crow” test aircraft to verify the ABL’s ability to track an airborne target and measure atmospheric turbulence.

Current tests follow modifications made at Boeing’s Wichita, Kan., facilities in 2006. The modifications on the aircraft include the installation of the beam control and fire control solid-state illuminators, as well as the addition of floor reinforcements and chemical-fuel tanks. These modifications were necessary for the integration, to be made later this year, of the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser — a missile-killing, high-energy chemical laser.

The COIL is composed of six interconnected modules, each as large as a sport utility vehicle turned on end. Each module weighs about 6,500 pounds and has 3,600 separate parts. When fired through a window in the aircraft’s nose turret, it produces enough energy in a 5-second burst to power a typical household for more than an hour.

Attached link: Airborne Laser (YAL-1A) to test-fire in flight at Edwards AFFTC


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