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  • VIDEO: ABL Targets Missile With Surrogate Laser
    Posted by Graham Warwick 2:12 PM on Sep 14, 2009

    This video from Boeing takes a little bit of interpretation, so I suggest you watch it, read the description below, then watch it again (once or twice). The surrogate high-energy laser referred to is a low-power laser that is fired through the ABL's beam-control optics to simulate the aircraft's actual megawatt-class high-energy laser.

    Video: Boeing

    Here's Boeing's description:

    "On August 10, 2009, the Airborne Laser engaged an instrumented target missile launched from San Nicolas Island, located in the Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range, off the central California coast. This was a test of the tracking laser, atmospheric compensation laser, and surrogate high-energy laser (SHEL) for scoring purposes in preparation for a high-energy laser shootdown later this year.

    A camera sensitive to infrared wavelengths was positioned on the Boeing 747 cockpit glare shield by the pilot. In the video, you see the bright missile plume moving left to right across the windshield. Note several small windshield reflections as the missile travels across the screen. The first laser beam that comes on is the tracking laser, followed by the atmospheric compensation laser, and finally the SHEL.

    The 36-foot-long Terrier Lynx/Black Brandt missile moves rapidly across the sky, showing the rapid timelines and clear advantage that speed-of-light, directed energy weapons deliver."

    Eight days after this test, on Aug. 18, the ABL fired its high-energy laser in the air for the first time, but into an onboard calorimeter to capture and measure its power. Actual shots against target missiles are the next step on the road towards the much-anticipated lethal shoot-down test against a ballistic missile.

    Tags: ar99, afa09, ABL

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