Northrop Grumman is a member of a team selected by the U.S. Air Force to develop and demonstrate a revolutionary new system-Airborne Laser (ABL). Team ABL includes the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), USAF, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Northrop Grumman is designing and developing the system's Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) and the Beacon Illuminator Laser (BILL), a solid state laser. Boeing, the team leader, is responsible for weapon system integration and supplies the 747-400F aircraft and BMC4I-battle management, command, control, communications, computers and intelligence.
ABL is one part of a layered ballistic missile defense system that addresses the world's growing ballistic missile threat. In the near term, only ABL can destroy hostile missiles while they are still in the highly vulnerable boost phase of flight-before separation of the warheads. ABL will operate above the clouds, where it will autonomously detect and track missiles as they are launched, using an onboard surveillance system. The Beam Control/Fire Control system will acquire the target, then accurately point and fire the laser with sufficient energy to destroy the missile.
The Northrop Grumman laser will use common industrial chemicals to create ABL's lethal beam. The laser's fundamental building block is a laser module. Six LMs will be linked in series to achieve ABL's megawatt-class power. Built of advanced, lightweight materials, the laser is designed for simple, safe operations and maintenance. Northrop Grumman has designed and developed advanced lasers since 1961. Northrop Grumman produced the world's first high energy chemical laser and the nation's only megawatt class chemical lasers, MIRACL and Alpha. The company develops a wide range of chemical lasers (deuterium fluoride, hydrogen fluoride, oxygen iodine), diode-pumped solid-state lasers and excimer lasers for force defense against a broad spectrum of threats.
The Airborne Laser Testbed
The Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) is being developed as an advanced platform for MDA’s directed energy research program. Using two solid state lasers and a megawatt-class Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser housed aboard a modified Boeing 747-400 Freighter, the ALTB uses directed energy to demonstrate the potential of using directed energy as a viable technology against ballistic missiles.
More info: http://ademuzexperience.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/guerra-en-el-cielo/
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