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Thursday, February 23, 2012

America’s Airborne Laser Weapon programme - Gigantic Indian connection [Trivia]

Airborne Laser Test Bed Nose Turret Ball from which the laser emerges to strike the target

Okay, the connection one could immediately be inclined to make, would be to imagine people with Indic names working in position of authority in the programme. While that might also be quite likely the case, this American military programme has yet another Indian connection.

Last week, U.S.A’s Missile Defence Agency issued a press release essentially announcing that it was ceasing all work on their current programme to develop an aircraft mounted laser system that could destroy an incoming Ballistic Missile in the boost phase of its path. As I just learnt, the aircraft that was being used as the test-bed for the programme, the gigantic Boeing 747-400, was earlier owned & operated by Air India, the government-[owned/abused/misused/patronised] flagship carrier of the country,

“The Airborne Laser test bed (ABL) was an ex-Air India 747-400 freighter that Boeing purchased and refitted with an optical turret in the nose, backed with a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser.”

- source

Boeing's Airborne Laser Test Bed, built from a Boeing 747-400  aircraft, formerly operated by Air India


I think this was the noblest thing, even if unintended, done by the carrier in a long-long time – enabled the pursuit of knowledge & scientific research. An act it hasn’t quite repeated since. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if the government decided to sell off its entire fleet of aircraft & simply get out of the business of operating airlines, that too badly, and like the personal fiefdom of the minister in-charge on that day. Such a ripe opportunity, this government-run airline business is, to engage in corruption, nepotism & cronyism, and here I am expressing my desire for the government to rid itself of this golden goose. Wishful thinking, alas, I know.

Prithvi Air Defence [PAD] system, part of India's Ballistic Missile Defence [BMD] programmeAdvanced Air Defence [PAD] system, part of India's Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM] shield programme

India’s Ballistic Missile Defence [BMD] shield or Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM] defence is being created around the development of the Prithvi Air Defence [PAD] & the Advanced Air Defence [AAD] systems. These systems are being designed and tested to destroy any incoming Ballistic missile in the Terminal Phase [final] of its path. On February 10, the Defence Research & Development Organisation [DRDO] successfully conducted yet another test of the AAD system.

Successful Advanced Air Defence [AAD] Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM] shield tested conducted by the Defence Research & Development Organisation [DRDO], India

DRDO has made public its ability to put the capital of the country under the protection of such a BMD shield by 2014. Subsequently more cities of India would be brought under this protective cover in a phased, staggered manner.


image source: 01