August 24, 2009
Missile shot down by Boeing Airborne Laser
The Missile Defense Agency of US and Boeing can leave sigh of relief because the $1.1 billion Airborne Laser program actually works. The ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400, took off from Edwards Air Force Base and located, tracked and fired on a target missile. The test demonstrated how each part of the engagement sequence works together in knocking missiles out of the sky. Well this is how it works. First the infra red sensors locate the missile that has been launched and then the battle management system deploys a pair of solid-state illuminator lasers to acquire the target, tracks it and provide detailed information on the atmosphere conditions. Then the high-energy laser will be fired to simulate a missile intercept. Because of delays and cost over-runs there was a question of viability but this test has proved otherwise and the ABL team is now pressing on with tests of the actual high-energy laser which they hope to test before the end of this year.