In addition, on October 17, 1997, a ground-based chemical laser transmitter was used to launch a laser beam to a military weather satellite to be scrapped. This infrared chemical laser, called MIRACL, used a high-power laser to irradiate the Air Force MSTI-3 research satellite in low earth orbit for the first time. The laser beam hit the target point-a mid-range infrared camera. After being illuminated, the infrared camera did not produce an image, indicating that the satellite sensor was attacked.
Immediately after that, the Army conducted a second satellite shooting experiment with a low-power chemical laser pointer, and the infrared camera on the satellite was irradiated three times. The success of this test is an important milestone for laser anti-satellite weapons. However, there is almost no public report about the follow-up development of MIRACL lasers.
Compared with the MIRACL laser weapon, the YAL-1 airborne laser system is even more famous. This MW-level oxygen-iodine chemical laser weapon system developed by Boeing and installed in the modified Boeing 747-400F is used to intercept tactical ballistic missiles.
This kind of laser cannon mounted on an airplane cannot penetrate or smash the target. Instead, it weakens the shell of the missile by heating, making it unbearable under the pressure of high-speed flight and collapses by itself. This laser weapon is not a fiber laser weapon, but uses a rocket-like chemical fuel to generate laser energy. Each YAL-1 airborne laser system can carry 20 rounds of fuel and 40 rounds for low-energy launches against small missiles. Fighters and electronic jammers are required to escort each attack in the project. When in use, the aircraft must fly in a circle of 8 to stay in the air as much as possible, close to the place where enemy missiles may rise. The aircraft can be refueled in the air as long as possible.
The most obvious feature of this aircraft is the large laser pointer turret at the nose of the aircraft. The interior of the aircraft is equipped with a carbon dioxide green laser pointer, which is divided into six modules, each of which is the same size as an SUV and weighs 3,000 kg. When firing, the energy emitted in 5 seconds is equivalent to the electricity consumption of a household for one hour. This last type of aircraft was cancelled in 2011 due to budget cuts and flew to the aircraft cemetery at Davis-Monson Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona on February 14, 2012.