Boeing ABL completes 1st test against Instrumented Target Missile
Boeing announced today that it successfully completed the Airborne Laser's (ABL) first in-flight test against an instrumented target missile on 10 August.
During the test, the modified Boeing 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and used its infrared sensors to find a target missile launched from San Nicholas Island, Calif. The Boeing-developed battle management system aboard ABL then issued engagement and target location instructions to the beam control/fire control system, which acquired the target and fired its two solid-state illuminator lasers to track the target and measure atmospheric conditions. ABL then fired a surrogate high-energy laser at the target, simulating a missile intercept. Instrumentation on the target verified that the surrogate high-energy laser hit the target.
The test follows ABL's engagement of two un-instrumented missiles in early June, which allowed the team to fine-tune the engagement sequence. ABL will now undergo flight tests in which the aircraft will fire its high-energy laser, first into an onboard calorimeter, then through its beam control/fire control system. The ABL team then will test the entire weapon system against in-flight missiles, culminating with ABL's first high-energy laser intercept test against a ballistic missile later this year.