Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Airborne Laser - from Theory to [not quite] Reality [yet]

American military programme to develop an Airborne Laser [ABL] weapon system.

Added the words in the parentheses myself, as prediction schedules made in this interesting article, I just came across, haven't quite been met. Earlier this year, the U.S. decided to finally pull the plugs on the programme to develop a High Energy Laser-based Boost-Phase intercept Ballistic Missile Defence shield.

This 2002 article, titled, 'The Airborne Laser from Theory to Reality: An Insider’s Account' gives a good background to the U.S. efforts to harness the power of Lasers for military application, especially from on-board aircrafts.

Ambitious plans had been foreseen for the system,

"the Air Force Research Laboratory is exploring partnering the airborne laser with satellite mounted mirrors. Using these mirrors to relay ABL’s powerful laser beam has the potential to dramatically improve ABL range"

Unfortunately, challenges posed in developing such a platform, coupled with budgetary constraints resulted in the termination of the programme, late last year, though events earlier this year tend to suggest that the programme could have an outside chance of receiving a fresh lease of life.



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