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ABL Closer to Testing

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posted on Oct, 28 2006 @ 08:47 PM
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The Missile Defense Agency rolled out the ABL aircraft on Friday, the latest development in the US's layered missile-defense system.

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 modified Boeing 747-400F.

Lt. General Obering III, Dir. 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."

The ABL is designed to detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles in their boost phase.

The ABL should be ready by 2008 to fire at a missile in flight, and it wouldn't be operational until the middle or late part of the next decade, he said.

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


source: US hails airborne laser as weapons milestone: Reuters

[edit on 10-28-2006 by intelgurl]




posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 06:00 AM
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Any more news on the ABL possibly switching to the 747-8 airframe Intelgurl?



posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 07:20 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
Any more news on the ABL possibly switching to the 747-8 airframe Intelgurl?

I think this first effort will be a 400 - once they get all that plumbing wedged in that model they aren't going to want to take it all out again. However, I think future efforts will be in the 747-800



posted on Oct, 29 2006 @ 10:48 PM
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If I remember right, the ABL is just a "one-off"...right?
Since it was always going over budget and behind schedule, they cancelled the idea of having several of them, and are just going to have one now.

I think Boeing is also working on a laser toting C-130.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
If I remember right, the ABL is just a "one-off"...right?

negative... the budget says just one but the intent and the actual money is there should they want to do another... which will happen.

Since it was always going over budget and behind schedule, they cancelled the idea of having several of them, and are just going to have one now.

I think Boeing is also working on a laser toting C-130.

The C-130 you describe achieved first light last week. It's going to be hugely understated as to it's capabilities. One press release description the air force gave for it was that it could flatten the tire of an adversaries' vehicle.
I had lunch with some of the engineers on this project and suffice it to say this laser can do a slice and dice on an armoured Hummer. Bio-entities (humans) don't stand a chance against an AC-130 armed with this flashlight.


[edit on 10-30-2006 by intelgurl]



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 08:40 AM
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The same report talked about the ability of the system to recycle laser fuel which was demonstrated. This gives the theoretical possiblity of being able to generate an infinite number of shots.

This is a hugely important development with great implications for ABL. Any further thoughts on this would be appreciated.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 09:39 AM
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Recycle laser fuel??!!

This works on electricity generated on board the a/c?
I thought they carried a pre-charged device of some sorts and the system was good for a fixed number of shots only..
But then again, I thought that; w/o any credible proof !


Anyways a publicised success would be well timed with the recent failure of the Bulava SLBM, and N Korean nuclear test.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 09:51 AM
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Originally posted by DickDasterdly
The same report talked about the ability of the system to recycle laser fuel which was demonstrated. This gives the theoretical possiblity of being able to generate an infinite number of shots.


This cant be right as it clearly defies the first law, maybe there is a way of extending the lasers firing or generating more energy, but to recycle the fuel used in one shot an infinite number of times while still creating enough energy to make a cup of tea never mind destroy a hummer is impossible.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 09:51 AM
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How are they going to get around the enemy putting reflective coatings on their missles? Maybe i missed some knowledge about how ABL works but it seems that it could easily be muted.



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 10:51 AM
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See the article below to see how it was done.


First laser test conducted using recycled fuel


www.af.mil...


by Rich Garcia
Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

10/6/2006 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFPN) -- The world's first firing of a laser using recycled fuel was conducted at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate recently by an Air Force and Boeing Company team.

During the test, conducted at the directorate's Davis Advanced Laser Facility, a chemical laser was supplied with basic hydrogen peroxide and chlorine regenerated from waste products from prior laser operations. The regenerated fuels were produced in miniaturized electrochemical reactions that were specifically designed to collect the waste products of laser operations and convert them to fresh fuel.

Testers fired the laser at high power, on the order of several kilowatts, proving its performance.

"This fuel recycling process can be continued indefinitely, providing a practical way to fuel laser weapons for the Air Force and other military services without the complexity and cost of periodically supplying new fuel to the battlefield, said Jason Marshall, research chemist and Air Force project officer on the program.

"This removes the need to dispose of used fuel," he said. "With the test's successful conclusion, the laser is ready for affordable, low-risk weapons applications that meet warfighter needs. It will substantially improve warfighting logistics."

The chemical laser used in this demonstration is a test-bed similar to the laser device that was designed for the advanced tactical laser, a Department of Defense technology project. It involves an Air Force C-130 Hercules that will carry the laser, which is intended to destroy, damage or disable ground targets with surgical precision, causing little-to-no collateral damage.

The Boeing Company, Directed Energy Systems (formerly the Laser & Electro Optical Systems business segment) of Canoga Park, Calif. is the prime contractor for the Advanced Tactical Laser. The Air Force's Directed Energy Directorate, is providing Boeing with technical expertise and support on the project.

Working through a cooperative research and development agreement, the directorate is also working with Boeing to develop advanced technologies that are intended to improve the aircraft's laser for the next-generation, directed-energy tactical weapon systems.









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TextSee the article below to see how it was done.

[edit on 30-10-2006 by DickDasterdly]



posted on Oct, 30 2006 @ 02:23 PM
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This method still requires the input of energy to reverse the reaction to regain the original fuel and by no means could allow the laser to fire an infinite number of shots IMO.



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 12:36 AM
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Originally posted by JackJuice
How are they going to get around the enemy putting reflective coatings on their missles? Maybe i missed some knowledge about how ABL works but it seems that it could easily be muted.

Mirrors do reflect lasers...but the mirror has to be big and thick, and be carefully made, any small imperfections (not visible to the naked eye) would be the mirrors "weakest link".

They cant just wrap there missile in aluminum foil and out smart this laser.

You can conceivably make a big missile with a perfect mirror shell, but it would take a long time, and cost tons of money...and even then it would weight a Lot more, meaning you would need a BIG rocket so it can reach its destination, while carrying the warhead(s), and the mirror-like casing.

The missile simply could not be made by countries like: Iran, NK, Syria, Pakistan, etc.



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 01:56 AM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
They cant just wrap there missile in aluminum foil and out smart this laser.

You can conceivably make a big missile with a perfect mirror shell, but it would take a long time, and cost tons of money...and even then it would weight a Lot more, meaning you would need a BIG rocket so it can reach its destination, while carrying the warhead(s), and the mirror-like casing.

The missile simply could not be made by countries like: Iran, NK, Syria, Pakistan, etc.

Two points I'd like to make here:

1. When dealing with a multiple megawatt laser such as the ABL, the very slightest oxidation on the outer shell no matter how polished or mirrored it is, will give the laser enough non-reflective material to begin a rapid burn of the shell.
ANY oxidation, dust particles, humidity, even a splattered bug on the nose cone, and the laser will have enough material to sink its teeth into.

2. When talking about mirroring or reflecting lasers it is important to know precisely what bandwidth of the light spectrum the laser is - a standard glass mirror is going to melt instantaneously when an infrared laser like the ABL comes in contact with it. The frequency of the laser determines what material is best suited to reflect it.

Also, I have worked with lasing DEWs on projects I was assigned, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that even in the most sterile, dust free, controlled environmental lab conditions, when dealing with a megawatt laser you have to switch out the mirrors frequently to keep them from disintegrating - with potential disasterous effects to the lab equipment and the lasers plumbing lines.

There is simply no way a missile launched in an outdoors environment can maintain it's reflective quality long enough to deter a megawatt laser from incinerating it.


[edit on 10-31-2006 by intelgurl]



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 09:00 AM
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Great thread looks of interesting info. Thanks for your input intelgurl.



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 06:45 PM
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www.de.afrl.af.mil...


A great piece about the laser and the airframes / systems.... looking good so far!


But heres the really cool part - they will use proteus as a test target ! lol they will not use the powerful laser but a surrogate instead..and proteus will carry a target for them to lock onto...

read about it here......

www.de.afrl.af.mil...



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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This is a different laser that will be installed on AC-130 gunships to destroy ground targets. This s different than the ABL but still awesome and even scary.

Thought I quoted. I ment the Boeing test if different than the 747 test aircraft.

[edit on 31-10-2006 by Xeven]



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 08:13 PM
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I read somewhere that a smaller, more portable version of the 747-4 ABL will be installed on future variants of the F-35 for faster theater deployment. Is this true?

And if it is, how will they power the laser and how would the F-35 maintain it's stealth qualities and how much would the airframe need to warp for such a device?

Shattered OUT...



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by ShatteredSkies
I read somewhere that a smaller, more portable version of the 747-4 ABL will be installed on future variants of the F-35 for faster theater deployment. Is this true?

And if it is, how will they power the laser and how would the F-35 maintain it's stealth qualities and how much would the airframe need to warp for such a device?

Shattered OUT...

Shattered,
The Laser concept for the F-35 is a solid state laser in the 100kw range, that means no heavy chemicals to power it. This is sufficient power to neutralize incoming surface to air and air to air missiles as well as other aircraft provided all the sensing and tracking modules have achieved a technology readiness level 6.

In the STOVL F-35B there is a large area behind the cockpit where the lift fan goes. The lift fan is powered by a shaft coming off the F135 engine generating some 27,000 horsepower. By removing the lift fan on the STOVL version, there is more than adequate room and power (via the 27,000 hp shaft) for a 100kw solid state laser.

The stealthiness of the F-35 should not be compromised by much, the laser's lens will be mounted in a turret on the bottom of the aircraft, the turret will be coated with RAM.

The major hurdle for this 100 kw solid state laser is cooling capacity. Currently a 100kw laser can be achieved but the laser diodes would not be allowed to reach peak performance due to cooling issues.

For example, instead of 1000 one hundred watt diodes working at 100% capacity, you must have 5000 diodes working at 20% capacity. This could mean nearly 5 times the weight of a solid state laser that could function at 100% capacity - on an aircraft that's already needing to go on a major diet.

Please bear in mind that this example is an approximation of course just to illustrate the problem - the actual numeric values are not for public consumption.

However, it is estimated that by 2009 the 100kw solid state laser should have an acceptable tech level to allow it to be carried by the F-35. The rest of the infrastructure development, etc would have a timeline somewhere around 2012.

You can probably do web searches to find out more information, I'm just going off the top of my head on this one.






[edit on 10-31-2006 by intelgurl]



posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 11:54 PM
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IG,
I suppose you could tell me how you know all of this, but then you'd hafta kill me. Right?

BTW, Nice blog.



posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 02:18 AM
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Surely if you have read her blog then you have read the small biog on the left?



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