Accession Number : ADA294914

Title :   ABLEX: High Altitude Laser Propagation Experiment.

Corporate Author : PHILLIPS LAB KIRTLAND AFB NM

Personal Author(s) : Weaver, L. D. ; Butts, R. R.

PDF Url : ADA294914

Report Date : AUG 1994

Pagination or Media Count : 27

Abstract : This article describes the Airborne Laser Experiment (ABLEX) project. ABLEX consisted of a set of experiments conducted in December 1992 and January 1993 in which a laser beam was propagated between two aircraft flying at high altitude. In these experiments scintillation patterns resulting from propagation through turbulence were recorded. The purpose of the experiments was to determine the fundamental performance limits of an adaptive optics system which performed phase only compensation as part of an Airborne Laser (ABL) theater missile defense weapon platform. Rather than field a highly complex, and expensive, airborne test-bed equipped with a state-of-the-art adaptive optics system, the physics-limited performance was determined by a novel, and quite simple method. This technique permitted a Strehl determination through measurements of the scintillation patterns resulting from propagation through turbulence. ABLEX was a scaled experiment: the aperture, operating wavelength, range to target, and platform altitude were all chosen such that the optical effects experienced by the propagating laser beam would be identical to those experienced by a high energy laser (HEL) beam. ABLEX was conducted as part of the ABL Risk Reduction program that was carried out in the first phase of the ABL program. (MM)

Descriptors :   *ANTIMISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS, *ATMOSPHERIC DISTURBANCES, *LASER BEAMS, *OPTICAL TRACKING, *ADAPTIVE OPTICS, MIRRORS, TEST BEDS, RISK, STATE OF THE ART, AIRBORNE, REFRACTIVE INDEX, TURBULENCE, ATMOSPHERIC MOTION, OPTICAL IMAGES, PULSED LASERS, BEAM SPLITTING, PLATFORMS, HIGH ENERGY LASERS, HIGH ALTITUDE, SCINTILLATION.

Subject Categories : Lasers and Masers
      Optical Detection and Detectors
      Atmospheric Physics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE