A. Measurement Platforms
Airborne Surveillance Test Bed (AST). The AST is a BMD asset being used to validate Long Wavelength Infrared (LWIR) sensor functional performance and to collect infrared data on a wide variety of ballistic missile targets. The system's large field-of-view LWIR sensor is used to accurately measure target infrared signature and position. The AST is frequently used as a surrogate for sensor systems under development. By collecting data and demonstrating sensor performance, the system addresses critical NMD and TMD development issues. The AST consists of a large three-color, LWIR sensor mounted in an 86-foot-long cupola atop a modified Boeing 767 aircraft. In addition to the module housing the AST sensor, the cupola on top has a second module capable of accommodating another sensor. The main cabin houses the signal and data processing equipment, operator consoles, recording equipment, global positioning system processors, and other ancillary equipment. The AST completed system integration and testing at Boeing in January 1990. Since then, it has completed many data collection and performance demonstration missions. These missions have been conducted at a variety of test ranges, including Kwajalein Missile Range (KMR), Pacific Missile Range Facility, Eastern Test Range, White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), and Wallops Island. Missions have been conducted at other CONUS locations as well. The AST is based at the Military Flight Center, Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. Future missions will allow the AST to collect data against new and never-before-seen targets and to expand the demonstration of surveillance sensor functions to new areas. AST continues to provide critical data and demonstrations.
POC: Mr. Hank Holmes, MDSTC; (205) 955-2136; PMA A1155
High Altitude Observatory (HALO). The MDSTC manages the HALO program for BMDO. The HALO is an instrumented Gulfstream II-B optical data collection aircraft providing airborne collection of multispectral (spanning the ultraviolet through the longwave infrared), imaging (calibrated radiometric and photo documentary), optical signature data on targets of interest including reentry vehicles, missile plume phenomenology, and missile/target intercepts, and intercept debris characterization and kill assessment. The mobile test asset supports a variety of user organizations with sustaining funds provided by BMDO and augmented by user funds for specific missions activities.
POC: Mr. Sonny Anderson, MDSTC; (205) 955-2151; PMA A3360
Sea Lite Beam Director (SLBD). The SLBD is an USASSDC asset located at WSMR. Elements have been combined into an integrated system that can acquire and track targets at extended ranges, accept the full power of the Mid-Infrared Chemical Laser (MIRACL) beam, focus and aim this beam onto a moving target, and maintain the focused beam on the aimpoint long enough to destroy or disable the target.
The SLBD system performs its pointing and tracking with a stabilized line-of-sight controlled by an inertially stabilized reference mirror and low-power alignment lasers and optical sensors. This scheme provides for high bandwidth, low jitter, and precise pointing of the MIRACL beam.
In addition to pointing the high energy laser beam, the SLBD has been used very successfully to passively track and image aircraft and missiles in flight. The inherently high quality of the optical components, precise pointing of the device, and its ability to track very high speed targets make it an ideal platform for capturing in-flight imagery of TMD launches and intercepts. Calibrated IR sensors in the SLBD's optical train collect high-speed, very high quality imagery of plume and hardbody signatures, and phenomenology, as well as recording point-of-intercept imagery.
POC: Mr. Tony Marrujo, USASSDC-HELSTF, (505) 679-5028