Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Strategic Nuclear Weapons Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: Airborne Laser Shoots Down Ballistic Missile
timon_phocas    2/12/2010 3:01:48 PM
h**p://www.mda.mil/news/10news0002.html Missile Defense Agency MDANEWS Release 10-NEWS-0002 February 11, 2010 Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept Experiment The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile. The experiment, conducted at Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range off the central California coast, serves as a proof-of-concept demonstration for directed energy technology. The ALTB is a pathfinder for the nation’s directed energy program and its potential application for missile defense technology. At 8:44 p.m. (PST), February 11, 2010, a short-range threat-representative ballistic missile was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform. Within seconds, the ALTB used onboard sensors to detect the boosting missile and used a low-energy laser to track the target. The ALTB then fired a second low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance. Finally, the ALTB fired its megawatt-class High Energy Laser, heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure. The entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch, while its rocket motors were still thrusting. This was the first directed energy lethal intercept demonstration against a liquid-fuel boosting ballistic missile target from an airborne platform. The revolutionary use of directed energy is very attractive for missile defense, with the potential to attack multiple targets at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers, and at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies. Less than one hour later, a second solid fuel short-range missile was launched from a ground location on San Nicolas Island, Calif. and the ALTB successfully engaged the boosting target with its High Energy Laser, met all its test criteria, and terminated lasing prior to destroying the second target. The ALTB destroyed a solid fuel missile, identical to the second target, in flight on February 3, 2010. MDA Media Contacts: Debra Christman • 719-325-8289 • debra.christman@mda.mil Rick Lehner • 703-697-8997 • richard.lehner@mda.mil h**p://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1111660620100212?type=marketsNews Reuters WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - A U.S. high-powered airborne laser weapon shot down a ballistic missile in the first successful test of a futuristic directed energy weapon, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Friday. The agency said in a statement the test took place at 8:44 p.m. PST (11:44 p.m. EST) on Thursday /0444 GMT on Friday) at Point Mugu's Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range off Ventura in central California. "The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile" the agency said. The high-powered Airborne Laser system is being developed by Boeing Co., (BA.N) the prime contractor, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Boeing produces the airframe, a modified 747 jumbo jet, while Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) supplies the higher-energy laser and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) is developing the beam and fire control systems. "This was the first directed energy lethal intercept demonstration against a liquid-fuel boosting ballistic missile target from an airborne platform," the agency added. The airborne laser weapon successfully underwent its first in-flight test against a target missile back in August. During that test, Boeing said the modified 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and used its infrared sensors to find a target missile launched from San Nicolas Island, California. The plane's battle management system issued engagement and target location instructions to the laser's fire control system, which tracked the target and fired a test laser at the missile. Instruments on the missile verified the system had hit its mark, Boeing said. The airborne laser weapon is aimed at deterring enemy missile attacks and providing the U.S. military with the ability to engage all classes of ballistic missiles at the speed of light while they are in the boost phase of flight. "The revolutionary use of directed energy is very attractive for missile defense, with the potential to attack multiple targets at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers (miles), and at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies," the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said. (Reporting by Jim Wolf and David Alexander, Editing by Sandra Maler)
 
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
timon_phocas    Is This Real or Deja Vu?    2/12/2010 3:10:58 PM
I've seen reports of the Airborne Laser Testbed for over a decade now. Weren't there reports about intercepts over the White Sands Missile Range back in the 1990's? Then nothing happened. No weapons were fielded, it all just retreated back into the fog bank.

Is this real, or is it being trotted out for its emotional effect? 
 
Quote    Reply



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics