Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: ABL
Origin: United States of America
Boeing*, Lockheed Martin (nose-mounted turret and beam control/fire control system) and Northrop Grumman (high-energy laser and beacon illuminator laser) (*) lead contractor
Parent System: YAL-1A
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2007
Total Production: ?
There are no reviews so far
Description: The YAL-1A is a modified Boeing 747-400F freighter with a chemical Oxygen Iodine megawatt-class laser and advanced sensors and payloads designed to autonomously detect, track, and destroy theater ballistic missiles in the boost phase. The YAL-1A being developed under the Airborne Laser (ABL) program will operate above the clouds, where it will detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles employing its high energy laser. The US Air Force could purchase up to seven YAL-1A aircraft if demonstration is completed successfully. This aircraft will be able to destroy ballistic missiles at hundreds of kilometers away in the boost phase of flight.
Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman and Boeing form team ABL. The US Air Force awarded a $1.1 billion contract in November 1996 to team ABL to build and test an ABL megawatt-class laser weapon system, now YAL-1A. The YAL-1A has a nose-mounted turret which houses a rotating 1.5m telescope used for target acquisition and beam direction. Lockheed-Martin IRSS sensor will provide detection and targeting capability, while Northrop-Grumman, formerly TRW, will provide the high-energy laser. Boeing will provide 747-400F airframe.
On November 3, 2004, ABL program marked an important milestone with Lockheed-Martin delivering the airborne laser flight turret assembly (FTA) to Edwards Air Force Base, California. The ABL program is now managed by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The MDA performed the first laser fire test November 12 the same year at Edwards Air Force Base ABL Integration Lab. The first YAL-1A ABL test aircraft equipped with the integrated battle management and Beam Control/Fire Control (BC/FC) systems flew for the first time at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on December 3, 2004. The ABL program was cancelled by the US Air Force in February 2012 due to the lack of funding.
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