Air Force News

Airborne laser receives largest optical-quality domed window ever made

Released: 9 Aug 1999

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFPN) -- Airborne laser officials here announced Aug. 9 that they have accepted delivery of the largest optical-quality domed window ever manufactured.

This is a majo r step in the production of a turret window for the airborne laser, an aircraft that will use a laser to destroy missiles from hundreds of miles away.

The 340-pound conformal window, produced by Heraeus Quarzglas, Hanau, Germany, and Heraeus Amersil, Duluth, Ga., and shaped by Corning, Inc. of Canton, N.Y., measures nearly six feet in diameter and incorporates unique materials to meet the stringent high-energy laser beam transmission requirements of the airborne laser program.

Through this glass, which will be in the nose of a modified 747-400 aircraft, will pass the high-energy laser beam and illuminator laser beams used by the airborne laser to track and destroy ballistic missiles in their boost stage.

Contraves-Brashear Systems in Pittsburgh, Pa., now has the responsibility to polish the shaped window into its final configuration and have it optically coated and installed into the Lockheed Martin-furnished composite turret ball located in the nose of the aircraft.

Final integration and test of the Lockheed Martin-built beam control/fire control system is scheduled for late 2001.


* Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.