COTS Processors Measure up in U.S Air Force Airborne Laser Tests

Engineers at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space in Sunnyvale, Calif., and SVS R&D Systems, in Albuquerque, N.M., found that high-speed commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) computer processors successfully managed information during testing of the U.S. Air Force Airborne Laser (ABL).

Specialists tested the COTS processors on their ability 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.

Lockheed Martin officials claim the tests demonstrated performance necessary to control crucial functions of the weapon system's beam control/fire control (BC/FC) segment.

The Airborne Laser system is designed to disable enemy ballistic missiles soon after they are launched with a high-power laser beam that weakens their metal structures. The BC/FC systems measure a variety of atmospheric conditions to focus the laser on its target missiles.

"We now have a functional control system," says Paul Shattuck, Lockheed Martin Missiles and 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."

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