On Feb. 11, 2010, around 8:44 p.m. (PST), the Airborne Laser (ABL) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile. The long-awaited shootdown took place over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center's Sea Range off the central California coast. The Missile Defense Agency said, a threat-representative short-range ballistic missile launched from a mobile sea platform at 8:44 p.m. and, "within seconds," the ABL used onboard sensors to detect the missile, a low-energy laser to track it, and another low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance, and then fired its megawatt-class high-energy laser to heat the target to "critical structural failure." The entire engagement from missile launch to destruction took place "within two minutes." Top: The modified Boeing 747-400F ABL platform, which employs a Northrop Grumman-designed high-energy laser, and Lockheed Martin-developed laser beam control/fire control system. Bottom: An infrared image of the ABL (right) destroying a threat representative short-range ballistic missile (left).
Top: Boeing photoBottom: MDA image
Daily Report: The day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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