Airborne Laser

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An airborne laser (ABL) is a laser system operated from a flying platform, as in the:

Development[edit]

Development in the United States has seen the system tested in 1981, when researchers had mounted the system to a KC-135 Stratotanker and successfully destroyed 5 AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and a simulated cruise missile.[1] The laser used in these tests was the "Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser" (COIL) and was developed in 1977, and used $1,000 of chemicals each time the laser fired and emitted in the Infrared frequency.

Functionality[edit]

Airborne lasers when fired, have enough energy to vaporize the metal of the missile that it is currently targeting. "It deposits enough heat to laze a hole through it. It's like taking a magnifying glass and burning a hole through a piece of paper, but we do it through metal," said Dr. Keith Truesdell, Phillips Lab chief of the applied laser technology branch.[2] To help with firing, newer ABL systems utilize tracking lasers which have been tested recently in 2007 when the US Missile Defense Agency tested the track illuminator laser (TILL) on the Boeing NC-135. The TILL is a solid state laser and is a key part of the fire control of the ABL system. [3]

Issues[edit]

As stated before, operational costs of an airborne laser are quite high. And the projected cost of the program was listed as 5.1 million USD in 2009 according to the US Department of Defense. [4] Along with the issues of price, there is also the issue of sensitivity of the laser itself. "Jitter" is a result of the chemicals in the laser burning off and creating turbulence under the plane, which will result in targeting issues. [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McKenna, P. (1997). Set lasers on stun! Airman, 41(4), 10-13. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.uky.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.uky.edu/docview/212268277?accountid=11836
  2. ^ McKenna, P. (1997). Set lasers on stun! Airman, 41(4), 10-13. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.uky.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.uky.edu/docview/212268277?accountid=11836
  3. ^ Writers, S. (2007, Mar 20). Boeing-led airborne laser team fires tracking laser at airborne target. UPI Space Daily Retrieved from http://ezproxy.uky.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.uky.edu/docview/454591754?accountid=11836
  4. ^ Michael Cabbage, Sentinel,Space Editor. 2004. AIRBORNE LASER FACES `DO-OR-DIE' TESTS ; THE ABL IS THE BIGGEST ENGINEERING CHALLENGE OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S MISSILE-DEFENSE PLANS. series: MISSILE DEFENSE: AMERICA'S COSTLY GAMBLE. Orlando Sentinel, Oct 19, 2004. http://ezproxy.uky.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.uky.edu/docview/280140685?accountid=11836 (accessed December 8, 2017).
  5. ^ Writers, S. (2007, Mar 20). Boeing-led airborne laser team fires tracking laser at airborne target. UPI Space Daily Retrieved from http://ezproxy.uky.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.uky.edu/docview/454591754?accountid=11836