The AirBorne Laser

Military Breakthrough

Do we need a more advanced military weapons? If we do what is it and what can it do? One type of advanced military weapon is the Airborne Laser; it is called the “anti-ballistic missile defense system”. It is designed as a missile defense system to destroy missiles while in “boost phase”. The ABL is designed by Boeing, North Grumman and Lockhead Martian Contractors. They also have one called YAL-1A, which is a high-energy
laser weapon system for destruction of tactical, theatre, ballistic missiles. Boeing is responsible for program management systems, integration battle management system, and modification of the 747-400F aircraft. TWR is building the laser system, Lockhead Martin space systems is responsible for the target acquisition and beam control systems. “The primary laser beam generated by a megawatt chemical oxygen iodine laser” (COIL)

How It is Made

The process goes fluently, complicated yet simple to the professionals and it is simply advanced on its own. The ABL is a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet consisting of four lasers, advanced adaptive optics, sensors, and computers to track, locate, and destroy missiles. All of the operations are coordinated by computer. ABL can be used on land, air and sea. It also contains a “chemical oxygen iodine laser” (COIL) A crew of four including the captain and co-captain would be needed to operate the ABL.

imagesCARJ33M5.jpg .

The Picture to the left is a discription of the AirBorne Laser inside and out.

The picture below shows the nose of the plane where the laser is fired at unsuspecting targets.
imagesCABJIMAE.jpg imagesCA72VUL1.jpg
The Picture above shows a diagram about the measured groud levels,
height, and distance of the AirBorne Laser.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Some of the disadvantages of the ABL are the cost, which is at an alarming rate of $500,000 to $1.3 million total!! Plus, the ABL is still being developed and tested. Not to mention the ABL is a complex piece of machinery. Yet, there are still some advantages, one of which is its ability to destroy deadly missiles. Another would be that it is a effective war weapon, and it’s defensive, lastly it has superior mapping, tracking, and locating potential. Basically it is an amazing military war weapon that will benefit us greatly. But we must remeber this weapon is highly dangerous and could cause problems if put in the wrong hands.
imagesCAA4NYL3.jpg The picture below shows a laser being fired.

How It Works

The ABL functions in this way: acquire and track missiles, after acquiring missiles and locking on the target, then the second laser-with weapons class strength would fire 3 to 5 times more or less if necessary, you will possibly see a turret located in 747’s nose, thus destroying the missiles over the launch area. But it must be canceled (stopped) immediately if there is a “beam misalignment”. (Locate, Aquirer, Aim, and Fire) Its simple yet complicated at the same time but highly effective if it's succesful. As so:1. Infrared sensors detect the heat signature of a boosting missile and report the information to an active tracking laser.2. The active tracking laser tracks the missiles and reports relevant tracking information. (distance,speed, and altitude)3.The tracking illuminator laser scans the target and figures out where best to aim the high energy laser.4. The beacon illuminator laser shines on the target, determines the target, and relays this information to the adaptive optics system in the aiming mechanism of the high-energy laser.5. The adaptive optics system is made of deformable mirrors that houses a 1.5-meter telescope as part of the optics system.6.The COIL laser fires a megawatt beam at the target, the beam exits the ABL through the nose mounted turret.7. The high-energy laser beam penetrates the skin of the target missile and disables or explodes it, depending upon where the beam strikes.(Everything Is Done By Computer)

The picture above is a example of how destructive the AirBorne Laser
really is and how the laser comes out of the nose of the plane.

The picture above shows a working AirBoren Laser.

Defensive or Destructive?

Ultimately, the ABL is a futuristic defensive military weapon that can help us greatly, that is if the government can afford and improve it. (Only to be used as defensive weapon.) The laser has been tested to check if it can find and destroy missiles properly, which turned into a success. They also adjusted the truck mounted laser (to counter artillery). If enemies develop new missiles, the ABL will become more and more important. But, will it stay defensive or turn destructive?
The Picture above shows a different type of AirBorne Laser that has a laser on top as well.

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How Laser Weapons Work." HowStuffWorks "The AirBorne Laser.", n.d. Web. 6 May 2013. <>.

Missile Defense Project News." Ballistic Missile Defense Program. N.p., 10 Nov. 1998. Web. 6 May 2013.


. Web. 6 MayAirBorne Laser. Testing AirBorne Laser Weapons. N.p., 17 Feb. 2010-