A-LOTS Aircraft 51-3123 The Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (A-LOTS) was built by the Nortronic Division of Northrop Corporation. A-LOTS was delivered to the Eastern Test Range in November of 1965 and was operationally accepted in December of 1966. The A-LOTS system consists of a manual tracking station, a pod which houses an optic sensor and high speed 70 millimeter film camera, and a control console. A target is visually sighted from a B-50 gun sight through a clear astrodome mounted on top of the aircraft. The camera pod is mounted on the cargo door of the aircraft and is slaved to this sighting station. The initial image is seen at the operation console on a closed circuit television system which has a coarse field of view. The image is then picked up and tracked either automatically or manually as viewed on a television monitor in the fine field of view. The 70 millimeter photographic camera operates from 10 to 80 frames per second to record such events as they occur like booster cutoff and staging. The camera control panel displays the frame rate and houses the remote shutter control. The remote shutter control allows adjustment of exposure times at these varying frame rates. Although designed primarily for use on the Air Force Eastern Test Range (AFETR) the A-LOTS equipped aircraft is occasionally called to duty at the Western Test Range. During many launches on the Eastern Test Range and other test ranges the A-LOTS is considered a prime source of data particularly during early development launches on various programs. Standing below ALOTS I camera pod are left to right J. L. Gantz, project engineer. Nortronics Division of Northrop Corporation; Colonel L. R. Wilcox. Chief Instrumentation Division Air Force Eastern Test Range (AFETR); and Don Chalifour. Pan Am ALOTS I project Manager. Aircraft 55-3123 was later extensively modified by the Air Force weapons Laboratory at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and used in an 11-year experiment to prove a high-energy laser could be operated in an aircraft and employed against airborne targets. The Airborne Laser Lab destroyed five AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and a Navy BQM-34A target drone. The aircraft was flown to the National Museum of the Air Force in May 1988 and currently is parked across from ARIA 60-0374. Source: Clifford Reeves Bendix Radio Foundation Randy L. Losey
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A-LOTS Aircraft 51-3123 The Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System (A- LOTS) was built by the Nortronic Division of Northrop Corporation. A-LOTS was delivered to the Eastern Test Range in November of 1965 and was operationally accepted in December of 1966. The A-LOTS system consists of a manual tracking station, a pod which houses an optic sensor and high speed 70 millimeter film camera, and a control console. A target is visually sighted from a B-50 gun sight through a clear astrodome mounted on top of the aircraft. The camera pod is mounted on the cargo door of the aircraft and is slaved to this sighting station. The initial image is seen at the operation console on a closed circuit television system which has a coarse field of view. The image is then picked up and tracked either automatically or manually as viewed on a television monitor in the fine field of view. The 70 millimeter photographic camera operates from 10 to 80 frames per second to record such events as they occur like booster cutoff and staging. The camera control panel displays the frame rate and houses the remote shutter control. The remote shutter control allows adjustment of exposure times at these varying frame rates. Although designed primarily for use on the Air Force Eastern Test Range (AFETR) the A-LOTS equipped aircraft is occasionally called to duty at the Western Test Range. During many launches on the Eastern Test Range and other test ranges the A-LOTS is considered a prime source of data particularly during early development launches on various programs. Standing below ALOTS I camera pod are left to right J. L. Gantz, project engineer. Nortronics Division of Northrop Corporation; Colonel L. R. Wilcox. Chief Instrumentation Division Air Force Eastern Test Range (AFETR); and Don Chalifour. Pan Am ALOTS I project Manager. Aircraft 55-3123 was later extensively modified by the Air Force weapons Laboratory at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and used in an 11-year experiment to prove a high-energy laser could be operated in an aircraft and employed against airborne targets. The Airborne Laser Lab destroyed five AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and a Navy BQM-34A target drone. The aircraft was flown to the National Museum of the Air Force in May 1988 and currently is parked across from ARIA 60-0374. Source: Clifford Reeves Bendix Radio Foundation Randy L. Losey