HomeNewsArticle Display

New facility for airborne laser ground testing

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- With the airborne laser flight test program under way, members of the ABL Integrated Test Force here are putting the finishing touches on a new facility that will be key to upcoming ground tests.

The $18.5 million test support structure, known as the Ground Pressure Recovery Assembly, will allow the test team to operate the weapons-class chemical laser and conduct testing on the ground.

The laser, which sits aboard a modified 747-400 series freighter aircraft, is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles while they still are over an enemy's own territory.

Because the laser was designed to function at the lower air pressures found at altitudes of 40,000 feet, the facility serves to simulate that lower pressure on the ground. The facility's large, sphere-like top is a negative pressure vessel, which sucks in the heat energy and water vapor generated by the chemical reaction of the laser. This venting action keeps the chemical reaction of the laser going. Without the release of heat energy and vapor, the chemical reaction would choke and light from the laser would cease.

The facility supports ground tests, which will take place inside the ABL Systems Integration Laboratory, known as the SIL. Ducting will connect the aircraft housed inside the SIL to the recovery assembly. Ducting can also be routed to additional hangars inside the ABL test complex to accommodate testing at other locations.

According to Kevin Montoya, ABL project manager here, the recovery assembly is part of the ABL program's risk-reduction plan. The industrial grade chemicals needed to produce the laser beam require detailed support and expertise from across the base, Montoya said. Therefore, safety continues to be paramount for the test team.

"We want to reduce our safety risks as we build up this weapon system," Montoya said. "This means learning about the operation of the laser inside the SIL and through ground testing. What we learn could reduce the overall flight test risk of the program."

The ABL program's ultimate goal is to shoot down a ballistic missile with a beam of ultra-powerful light by the end of 2004. The aircraft, tail No. 00-0001, which made its first flight July 18, is scheduled to arrive at Edwards later this year.

According to Montoya, it is possible that other Department of Defense agencies as well as private industry could use the recovery assembly for similar directed-energy tests in the future; however, currently the team is concentrating on preparing the aircraft for its major test against a ballistic missile. Besides testing on the ground, the test program includes laser firings against a number of objects in the air over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, such as balloon-dropped instrumented targets and short-range rockets.

"Our focus right now is to shoot down a missile in 2004," Montoya said. "We don't want to sideline that in any way, but if some synergy exists that can ultimately save the taxpayer money, then it's in our best interest to consider that down the road."

Engage

Twitter
#DYK @AirMobilityCmd has approximately 110,000 total force personnel, providing rapid global mobility...right effec… https://t.co/OM6oIhSofG
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: The 378th Expeditionary Logisitcs Readiness Squadron perform a hydrostatic test on fuel hoses at @378_aew . What is a hydros…
Twitter
CMSgt Bass installed as the Air Force’s 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. @cmsaf_official #AimHigh https://t.co/DN38IdsXhu
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: .@cmsaf_official has the passion, the skills, and the strength of character we need to lead us…to face head-on the demand…
Twitter
Lt Gen David Allvin nominated to become Air Force Vice Chief of Staff https://t.co/JST6kf0H4g
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: The #Strikers of @AFGlobalStrike congratulation CMSgt Kaleth O. Wright on his retirement, and welcome @cmsaf_official C…
Twitter
RT @SpaceForceCSO: Congrats to CMSgt Joanne Bass, @usairforce CMSAF #19! Mollie & I are looking forward to working with you & Rahn in suppo…
Twitter
Join us for the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force transition ceremony LIVE from @Andrews_JBA at 9:30AM EDT.… https://t.co/uUYv7TgMeb
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: #Airmen load up a C-130J Super Hercules before heading to #Bulgaria for Thracian Fall 2020. The @usairforce trains with B…
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Airmen and Soldiers from the @CTNationalGuard delivered 21,000 cases of water from @fema to towns throughout the state in…
Twitter
RT @usairforce: “I’m a dental tech who became Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force...be dreamers – dream big.” - @CSMAF_Official #ReadyAF
Twitter
Join us for the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force transition ceremony LIVE from @Andrews_JBA TOMORROW at 9:30AM ED… https://t.co/ok6km7nFoS
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Teammates, Let me start with 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒌 𝒚𝒐𝒖. https://t.co/xU6U3QuZV7
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Engaging through listening sessions, senior leaders are hearing directly from #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals on diversi…
Twitter
RT @PACAF: JUST IN: Three #B2 Spirits from @Whiteman_AFB deployed to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia in support of #BTF missions. @IND
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The #Airmen at @Creech_AFB make a global impact 24/7. The RPAs they operate provide vital intelligence and strike capabi…
Twitter
"I'm confident that our Air Force can continue to be the most dominant and respected Air Force in the world." -… https://t.co/PZQzLUGBxz
Twitter
Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to @INGuardsman participate in close air support training. TACPs provide… https://t.co/BcyiAmfFmV
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: The @140Wg became the first ANG unit to successfully execute an agile combat employment exercise while at @Buckley_AFB. T…
Twitter
“I’m a dental tech who became Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force...be dreamers – dream big.” - @CSMAF_Officialhttps://t.co/AKSjyQNq4s
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,267,235
Follow Us