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Airborne Military Laser Weapons

Airborne Military Laser Weapons

Air Force Airborne Military Laser Weapons System Mounted On Boeing 747-400 Aircraft

Since the Cold War the U.S Missile Command and the U.S Air Force have continually focused their efforts on designing an Airborne Laser Weapon. Whilst this idea may still seem like science fiction, testing for this ground breaking technology has already begun.

Boeing Airborne Laser

Boeing Airborne Laser

A powerful Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) has been mounted in a turret-like array on the nose of specially modified Boeing 747-400 air freighters. The Airborne System’s (ABL) primary mission will be to locate and shoot down enemy ballistic missiles whilst still in the launch stage.

The ABL will have an array of six long range Infrared Scan and Track (IRST) sensors arranged around the aircraft, providing 360 degrees of coverage to locate launch sites. Once the launch has been detected the data is fed to a modified low altitude navigation which will then use laser ranging to determine the three dimensional coordinates of the launched missile.

This information is fed to 2 low-power Track Illuminating Lasers. One of the TILL lasers tracks the nose of the target, establishing how far away the target fuel tank is, while the second TILL laser tracks the target area calculated by the first TILL. Once the TILL lasers have tracked the target, a more powerful Beacon Illuminating Laser (BILL) is used to sample the atmospheric conditions between the ABL and the target this ensures all movement and atmospheric variables are accounted for by the time the primary laser is ready to fire.

Boeing Airborne Laser COIL

Boeing Airborne Laser COIL

The COIL uses atomized liquid hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and potassium hydroxide (KOH) and chlorine gas (CL2) to make an energized form of oxygen known as singlet delta oxygen, this is then mixed with molecular iodine gas (I2) to form ionized iodine gas. As the ionized iodine gas settles it releases a photon, it’s these photons that are then amplified by a pair of parallel laser cavity mirrors and finally discharged as a pulse of coherent light. The COIL will consist of six individual lasing modules (each weighing 4,500 pounds, and as big as a panel van) linked in series, so that the beam from one module can be amplified further as it passes through each module.

The ABL performed flawlessly during ground testing, however mounting the massive unit in the aircraft with such results presents its own problems.

Boeing 747 Mounted Airborne Laser Weapon

Boeing 747 Mounted Airborne Laser Weapon

First, the technology used to locate and track the missiles position is very precise, the systems need to be stabilized against in flight vibrations. This can be achieved through the use of spring loaded vibration isolation benches but must be perfected if the ABL is to perform well in the air.

Second, the Boeing 747-400s maximum payload weight is 320 tons, currently the ABL weighs in at 300. Reducing the system’s overall weight will not only provide a larger margin for safety, but will allow the aircraft to carry more laser reactant (for more shots), fuel (for longer loiter times) or improved crew accommodations (which will increase mission loiter times and reduce crew fatigue).

With the system already designed and only a few obsticals to over come, the U.S Air Force hope to have an ABL in operation sometime shortly after next year.

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  1. It is about time for this kind of weapon to be in production. Can you amagine the look on a terriots face when out of the blue his body explodes and not knowing how.:) What I like to see is that a laser firing rifle kind of like what is shown on star wars. I do beleive that a force field could be possible, by a magnetic field around the airplane, what do you think?

  2. mate, a high powered magnetic field would disrupt the avionics in the aircraft. let alone the aircraft’s engines!

    thanks for trying ^_^”

  3. Ha, Josh, If we can come from fighting with steel swords to lasers, I think a magnetic forcefield can and will be possible to make. Its just a matter of time.

  4. U.S.A #1!!!

  5. actually, magnetic forcefields would be a waste because it would disrupt the plane communications rather than the saftey including that it wouldn’t be the best thing against missiles, i would rather say using plasma would be more efficiant

  6. Thanks for trying, you spelled efficient wrong. If we have the technology and resources to create laser firing turrets on airplanes, we have the technology and resources to alter something we have already created (specifically the avionics) so it can run a magnetic field while maintaining control and communication stability. If this isn’t possible, then it is possible to make a deflective field made out of SOMETHING (probably not plasma, tbh.), so there is no point in arguing about it anyway, which concludes my comment.

  7. this is nothing…. my handheld laser is capable of liquifying planets from my house……. and planet mars, it looks burnt rather than melted because i was out of energizer AAA batteries and had to use the crappy off-brand ones…

  8. We could surround the aircraft with depleted uranium dorks arguing about plasma and lasers and spelling and that could protect the aircraft

  9. the teck that they are trying to perfect can be very usfull this will lead to other wepons, like :
    land to air missile defence and possibely space based wepeons for long distance fireing,  this will be a wepon that will lead to many other wepons.

  10. First off Glenn. You are retarded. No I can’t amagine terriots. Maybe I can imagine terrorists dumb ass. Also can I “amagine the look on a terriots face when out of the blue his body explodes and not knowing how.:)” If his body explodes I don’t think I would see his face. Force fields sure. Brian. Agreed. Josh, a magnetic field wouldn’t disrupt the planes engines. You are fucking retarded. They are engines not hard drives. Captian Rodger= Hilarious. And that concludes my trolling.

  11. Trevor, u have a Good imaginatin LOL

  12. And Btw  i agree With james, But the magnetic feild could disrupt communications and the technology aboard teh Plane, causing a Very Bad Crash

  13. and that Concludes MY trolling

  14. Just read this thread, have not one of you flaming geniuses thought of shielding the avinoic electronics from the “force field” .  It is old school tech that has been  used in millions of applications for the last 50 years. Also, utilizing reactive armour (which however would add weight to aircraft) could be an option.

    Alas, without our yet to be perfected use of compact, stable, safe, powerful and efficent power sources we won’t see mass production of these weapons systems in our lifetimes.

    And, Captain Rodger, full steam ahead, Sir!

  15. This type of weapon has very limited uses other then soft targets and missile’s, A lased tank round with computer tracking system would still easily snipe the craft out of the sky, get your head out your ass’s and stop thinking “star craft” weapons have any other real use beside giving geeky 14 yr olds hard ons

  16. a force field at the moment isn’t possible. But after time, talking decades from now planes wont use the technology they have now so right now a force field wont work will it. but all you guys are speculating or guessing who here is actually a scientist? I bet none

  17. tim – what is your definition of “scientist”?  On the development end or the applications end?

    Anyone with a basic mathematics, physics and chemistry background can understand the basic theory, laws and concepts of such an undertaking.  Don’t need to be a military man a MIT doctorate or a nuclear physicist.  Just solid analytical ability.

    2 + 2 will always equal 4 in this universe anywhere and anytime.  We are pretty much up against the wall or limit with curent and forseeable technolgy save for refinement.  Until and if ever we can produce a compact self renewing power source of any significance you can forget about force fiields and powerful futuristic weapons outside of small controlled laboratory settings. 

    And, TJ forget about a tank firing a laser guided round at a mach 2 aircraft at 30,000 feet, just ain’t going to work.  The only aircraft even advanced tanks can take out are relatively slow and low like a helicopter.


  18. The fact of the matter is these scientists have produced a laser which can stop airbourne weaponary. In only just over a century we have gone from the wright brothers plane to what we see now whats telling in another century what we will have? what ever can be imagined will possibly be done that includes a force field. the energy doesn’t have to be self replenishing. you only need enough fuel to get from a to b and from b to a and so on. what about anti matter? we can only harness and contain 1 atom of the stuff but 100 years from now we could use this to power force fields.

  19. YES we have aircraft with lasers saddled with giant technical and logistics obstacles negating making them an effective weapon or weapon of choice in the forseeable future,  could possibly knock an airborne weapon or two out of the sky before they would be targeted by the enemy and several billion dollars of taxpayer money blown out of the sky. The size, weight, aquisition time , charge time etc, etc, etc, renders these one or two concept aircraft not ready for prime time.

    Anti matter? USE YOUR BRAINS, c’mon the best anyone has ever done (Swiss scientists) with that is capture 38 atoms of lowly simple anti-hydogen for 2/10ths of a second!!!! QUIT LIVING IN A 12 YEAR OLDS DREAM WORLD!!!

  20. I disagree with you Mikey!!

  21. what i was saying could be possible in the future. Not now but obviously your small useless brain cant see that!! Being evolved enough to know that it could be possible separates the men from the boys. Don’t quit your day job mate!

  22. Captain Rodger, right on about depleted dorks of some type.  Some of their brains are on permament holiday in locations from which there is no return.

    Tim my innocent matey, chew on this:

    Also google military review sites like “Jane’s” which gives you credible evaluation on present and future capabilities of airborne laser weapons. Completely different from the comic books you have religiously been injesting as truth.

    This is my last read andpost here, too many individuals who think they are the next Nostradumbass with IQ’s south of a Baboon’s butt to waste my time any further.


  23. Captain Rodger is funny, in a good way.  Depleted Uranium.  🙂  I got a good laugh out that one, especially because it really is a great idea.  So if you’re going to make a force field, will it be really big, encompasing the entire aircraft, or shaped like the craft so it is projected only inches off its surface.  Maybe force fields will be used in the future, but it will be a pain in the ass to make it work, especially on an aircraft. Adios.

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