Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Airborne Laser Closer to Completion

By Aussiegirl

Ronald Reagan lives! And they laughed at the Wright Brothers. Here's the description of the craft from the official website:

The Airborne Laser (ABL) will locate and track missiles in the boost phase of their flight, then accurately point and fire the high-energy laser, destroying enemy missiles near their launch areas.


Operates autonomously, above the clouds, outside the range of threat weapons but sufficiently close to enemy territory

Engages early, destroying ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight over launch area

Cues and tracks targets, communicating with other joint theater assets for layered defense system

Unique Technology:

Nose-mounted turret with 1.5m telescope that focuses beams on missile and collects return image and signals

Beam Control System to acquire and track targets with precision accuracy
Look for further developments of the ABL as the global threat of ballistic missiles becomes ever more prevalent.

Airborne Laser Closer to Completion

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency rolled out an airborne laser aircraft on Friday, the latest development in a missile-defense system that was once ridiculed as a "Star Wars" fantasy.

In a ceremony at the Boeing Co.'s Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, the agency announced it was ready to flight test some of the low-power systems on the ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F designed to destroy enemy missiles.

Lt. Gen. Henry "Trey" Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said he embraced early critics' comparison of the laser-equipped plane to the Star Wars movies.

"I believe we are building the forces of good to beat the forces of evil. ... We are taking a major step in giving the American people their first light saber," Obering told dignitaries and employees gathered for the ceremony.

The laser weapon's system is designed to detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles in their boost flight phase.

It will likely be 2008 before the program is ready to fire at a missile in flight, and it wouldn't be operational until the middle or late part of the decade, he said.

"This is not the prettiest aircraft I have seen," Obering said. "It is not supposed to be pretty. It is supposed to be mean."


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