Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engine and electronics and has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC) proposes to demonstrate the concept feasibility of a Raman Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system to obtain real-time information from volcanic ash clouds, to be named VADER (Volcanic Ash DEtection Raman LIDAR). The instrument will be designed to operate from an airborne platform, and as such, will be compact and light weight. This approach benefits from returning real-time measurements, in contrast to sampling methods (impactors) that require post-mission analysis. This project will utilize MAC's extensive heritage of rugged LIDAR system design and construction.