The CMO YAG laser damage test facility, which is equipped with a 30 Hz laser, is presented in this paper. The main points are described: (1) The characteristics of the laser beam and the in situ damage detection technique (a scattered light measurement system) are perfectly suited to work up to the frequency of the laser. They are monitored in real time, and work at three wavelengths: 1064 nm, 532 nm, 355 nm. (2) The laser beam characteristics are preserved during the laser damage tests even for only one shot or frequencies lower than 30 Hz due to a fast shutter. (3) With this same shutter, it is possible to automatically stop the laser on the pulse which induces the first damages. These automatic capabilities enable the samples to be tested quickly. (4) A Nomarski microscope supplied with a 16-bit CCD camera enables the test sites to be photographed before and after the laser interaction. Image processing enables us to extract the first damages. (5) Six pulse widths are available (between 3 ns and 13 ns). Therefore, with all these characterization tools, many kinds of laser tests may be considered. These different features are illustrated by experimental results (1-on-1 test or R-on-1 test).© (1996) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.