The Missile Defense Agency's Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB) is dead after a long battle with Pentagon budgetary priorities and Congress. ALTB is best remembered for being a far-out directed-energy beam missile defense interceptor that dodged cancellation by the SecDef himself in 2010 by successfully zapping a test missile from the sky, earning it $40 million more and a new lease on life.
When it comes to space-based missile defense, history tells us it’s a good idea to be skeptical of any given development. Nonetheless, it appears Northrop Grumman has gone and done something pretty cool, tracking a ballistic missile through all phases of flight, a feat one Grumman VP called “the Holy Grail for missile defense.”
The Missile Defense Agency’s airborne laser weapon is supposed to save us all from imminent nuclear demise, but after yesterday’s botched test firing – the second failure in a row – the Airborne Laser Test Bed program may not be able to save itself. During a test run off the California coast yesterday, the high-energy lasing Boeing 747 located a test missile in the sky but never got down to the very important business of blasting it out of the sky.
The Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser Test Bed (ALTB) – formerly known simply as the Airborne Laser – has endured a back-and-forth existence, at different times the darling of the MDA, at other times on the verge of catching the Pentagon or Congressional axe. But after an all-around success in February, the scales have tipped back the other way for the embattled ICBM-blaster as it failed a critical test on September 1.
Should they cast their eyes skyward at just the right moment, a few lucky observers could see something spectacular this summer: a Boeing 747 splitting open a ballistic missile with a laser in mid-flight. After 12 years and $5 billion in R&D, the Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser (ABL) will make its first real-world attempt to shoot down a missile in midair.
Meet the homeland security blimp, flying high by 2006.
By Matthew StibbePosted 02.01.2004 at 6:00 pm 0 Comments
Being oversize has its advantages. Just ask researchers at the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, which recently dished out $40 million to arms maker Lockheed Martin to design what could soon be the world's largest pilotless airship. Measuring 500 feet long, with a volume of 5.2 million cubic feet, the prototype high-altitude airship, or HAA, will be 25 times larger than the Goodyear blimp.
Dave Minto oversees hyper-speed ground tests of everything the Air Force shoots into the air.
By Charles GraeberPosted 09.26.2003 at 4:21 pm 0 Comments
NAME: Dave Minto
JOB: As technical director of the High Speed Test Track at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Minto oversees hyper-speed (over Mach 5) ground tests of everything the Air Force shoots into the air—from ejection seats to prototypes for anti-ballistic missile delivery systems.