Battle Airborne Laser (ABL) on the platform of the liner B747-400F, which is engaged in the development of the concern companies Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, February 14, 2012 made the last flight, reports Defense Aerospace.
After that, experts have made the dismantling of special equipment, and the support of ABL went to the site of the first group 309 for maintenance and repair of aerospace engineering (AMARG), more known as "airplane graveyard" or simply "Cemetery» (The Boneyard).
The site AMARG was founded in 1946. It is located near Tucson, Arizona. "Cemetery" is a repository of written-off aircraft. At the site located more than 4.4 thousand different aircraft, including the pilot used by the U.S. Air Force over the years. Most of the aircraft is on preservation — they are determined to be combat-ready and can be returned to service in case of emergency.
At the end of December 2011 it was announced that the U.S. Defense Department has closed the program to develop ABL, which was planned to be used for missile defense. The development program of the laser was carried out for 16 years, and the amount of financing made five billion dollars. According to the Pentagon, the ABL program was shut down due to its high cost, from the practical applicability of the technology and the need to reduce costs of the defense budget.
The project created a modification of the ABL Boeing freighter B747-400F, suitable for the installation of a military laser. The company Northrop Grumman developed the chemical laser itself, and Lockheed Martin has been manufacturing precision-guided systems of prospective weapons. The laser power at the close of the project was brought to megawatts. The last test in the ABL operational use took place in February 2010 when the laser managed to hit two ballistic missiles. Subsequent tests have failed.
Customer development ABL was Missile Defense Agency (MDA) USA, which plans to continue the program of development of combat aircraft-based lasers. The plans of the agency — create a highly effective laser pumped by an electric discharge, which could also be used in order to missile defense.
In another article I read: Meanwhile, MDA is interested in the development of a new air-based laser weapons, which, according to the agency head Lieutenant General Patrick O'Reilly, will be more powerful and smaller than existing systems. Engineers must determine the choice of laser technology for future weapons. "We are confident that in a few years we will have a prototype device that will work on unmanned aircraft at high altitude," — said O'Reilly. At the end of February 2010 the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the Air Force does not intend to use combat chemical lasers. Greater interest in the military cause solid-state lasers, compares favorably to the chemical smaller dimensions.
16 years and $ 5 billion and it is not enough! Where to watch the activists USAPILa?