Team ABL validates advanced processing architecture
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 5, 1999 -- Team Airborne Laser -- the Air Force,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin and TRW ñ today announced that tests of high-speed
commercial computer processors demonstrated the performance needed to manage
information that will control critical functions of the weapon system's Beam
Control/ Fire Control (BC/FC) segment.
The successful tests, conducted by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space,
Sunnyvale, Calif., and SVS R&D Systems, Albuquerque, NM, addressed a key
issue in the development of the weapon system -- how to process vast amounts
of complex atmospheric and target data in a short period of time while
simultaneously supplying the system's status to the ABL crew.
"We now have a functional control system," said Paul Shattuck, Missiles &
Space ABL program manager. "These tests validated our architecture and
design concept for processing large amounts of information. We can now start
the procurement of the processors and stay on track with the hardware and
software integration of the weapon system."
The processors are the "brains" of the BC/FC segment that tie the entire
"Functions of the weapon system must happen quickly and in a coordinated
fashion," said Shattuck. "These processors pass and manage information so
the entire system can work as one cohesive unit."
Information is gathered from various sensors on the ABL aircraft. These
sensors provide data about the atmosphere and the intended target. The data
is then processed into signals that point the weapon system's high-energy
laser to the target.
"Sampling the sensor data, processing the information and pointing the laser
turret have to be done at up to 10,000 times a second," said Bob Love,
Missiles & Space BC/FC Integrated Product Team lead. "These tests validated
the quick processing capability needed for this weapon system and underscore
the combined efforts between the U.S. Air Force System Program Office,
Missiles & Space and SVS R&D Systems."
Team ABL's current Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PDRR) contract
with the Air Force calls for the team to produce, integrate and flight test
the first prototype ABL demonstration system. Team ABL is scheduled to
conduct a boost phase 'shoot-down' of a theater ballistic missile in 2003.
An ABL Engineering Manufacturing and Development program could begin as
early as 2004. The PDRR aircraft will provide the Air Force with a residual
Team ABL is led by Boeing, which has overall program management and systems
integration responsibilities. Boeing is also developing the ABL battle
management system and modifying the 747-400 aircraft. Those efforts will be
done at their facilities in Seattle, Wash., and Wichita, Kan. TRW, Redondo
Beach, Calif., is building the ABL COIL laser and the related ground-support
subsystem. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space is developing the ABL BC/FC
system in Sunnyvale.
Point of Contact: Jeffery Adams
Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space
Sunnyvale, Calif. 94089