Courtesy: DoD Missile Defense Agency

The Airborne Laser Testbed operates aboard a modified Boeing 747-400, and is designed to detect, track and kill ballistic missiles in their boost phase using a high energy laser.

Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB)

The Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) is being developed as an advanced platform for MDAs 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.

Firing Sequence
The Airborne Laser Testbed uses six infrared sensors to detect the exhaust plume of a boosting missile.

Once a target is detected, a kilowatt-class solid state laser, the Track Illuminator, tracks the missile and determines a precise aim point.

The Beacon Illuminator, a second kilowatt-class solid state laser, then measures disturbances in the atmosphere, which are corrected by the adaptive optics system to accurately point and focus the high energy laser at its intended target.

Using a very large telescope located in the nose turret, the beam control/fire control system focuses the megawatt-class COIL beam onto a pressurized area of the boosting missile, holding it there until the concentrated energy compromises the structural integrity of the threat missile causing it to fail.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. I'm happy it's cancelled it's to futuristic and for someone to be killed by lasers will lead to a inhumane and degrading death Forbidden by Human rights

  2. It looks like a big camera.

    It's rather ironic because the novel "The War of the Worlds" described the alien's heatray weapon as resembling a camera. Keep in mind that the book was written in the 1890s, long before the concept of lasers was fully realized.

  3. Are you referring to commercial airliners? Imagine how much it would cost to arm all the thousand of jumbo jets around the world with one of these, then compare that to how many have been taken down with AGM's.

  4. We use those jets to drop paratroopers and supplies in strategic places in the battlefield, the warzone… Don't you think even slightly those jets are at risk of attack, or do you think the other side would just let them fly on by just because they didn't mean to get into combat? If it is beneficial to destroy it, they will; being jumbo jets take very little to destroy but benefit us greatly when they complete their missions, I am confident they're targets. FYI, you said most, so there you go.

  5. After being retired for a while, the Boeing YAL-1 is going to be rebuilt.
    But, with the upcoming Sequestration of money coming up, it might
    be cut from the budget again.

  6. Lets be honest, when do you find yourself in combat? Odds are, at most, you are fighting a bunch of dirt turban dudes that chug rocks and explosives made out of duct tape. If you were to be against any country that has modern technology, you would be shitting yourself as you get hit.

  7. thats the most cost innefective thing ive ever heard. I dont know were the hell you take your holidays, but I havent found SAM's to be much of an issue whilst traveling on mine.

  8. Yes it does. And it already had proved its accuracy. At 11 000m under the sea level, it can shoot down ICBM before they have leave the enemies territory. And Lockheed martin is developing smaller laser for fighter hit and seek missile defence. The YAL-1 will not be the final Jet for Anti ICBM Laser, they are working on Jet that can go faster, higher, with a Laser 8 times more power than this. 4 of this system is prepared to be installed on 4 aircraft carriers too.

  9. If you are against arming all US planes with this technology you are obviously in league with Al Queada, Please leave the USA NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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