(U) The Laser Technology Thrust establishes the feasibility and payoff of lasers in advanced weapon, communication, illumination, and optical counter-measure applications. Development efforts continue to address the concerns of scaling to high power, good beam quality, and high efficiency, but have recently included increased emphasis on suitability for specific classes of applications and operational environments, with additional emphasis on operation in specific wavelength bands, packaging for minimum weight and volume, and affordability and reliability in real weapon system applications.
(U) This Thrust encompasses the development, demonstration, and transition of directed energy and assessment of the survivability of USAF systems to similar foreign threats. For advanced weapon concepts, on-going and planned research and development will lead to high energy lasers, high power microwaves, high energy plasmas, and related capabilities such as high resolution optical imaging. Establishing the control and exploitation of space also requires the development of both hardening technology and the criteria for protecting USAF systems against directed energy weapons, nuclear weapons, and natural and enhanced space radiation.
(U) The overall goal of this thrust is to establish the feasibility and payoff of lasers in advanced weapon, communication, illumination, and optical counter-measure applications. Development efforts continue to address the concerns of scaling to high power, good beam quality, and high efficiency, but have recently included increased emphasis on suitability for specific classes of applications and operational environments. This has placed additional emphasis on operation in specific wavelengths bands, packaging for minimum weight and volume, and reliability and affordability in real weapon system applications.
(U) Specific goals for the Laser Technology Thrust include:
1. (U) demonstrate Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Laser (COIL) device scaling, high pressure operation, and extended run times for applicability to high power directed energy weapon (DEW) systems, with emphasis on ground-based laser and Airborne Laser (ABL) Theater Missile Defense (TMD) missions;
2. (U) transition semiconductor diode laser sources, when suitable, to satellite crosslink communication developers;
3. (U) demonstrate and transition lightweight, compact, high efficiency semiconductor diode and diode-pumped lasers to meet customer needs in the areas of communications, remote and environmental sensing, terrestrial illumination, nonlethal weapons, medical applications, countermeasures, and target illumination for active tracking;
4. (U) develop advanced laser sources, e.g., new gas phase lasers; high repetition rate, ultra-short pulse lasers, etc., for high payoff applications where current laser source state-of-the-art fails to meet application requirements; and
5. (U) develop high power frequency agile sources in the near ultra-violet, visible and near infrared using nonlinear optical processes. Demonstrate a 10 watt class frequency agile laser system that uses multiple nonlinear optical processes.
|Advanced Laser Programs||Advanced Laser Programs|
|Chemical Laser Technology||Chemical Laser Technology|
|Semiconductor and Solid State||Semiconductor and Solid State Laser Technology|
|Directed Energy Technology||Directed Energy Technology|
|TECHNOLOGY- RDT&E||SPACE TECHNOLOGY|
(U) 21 November 1997
(U) Road Map Production Date: 18 June 2001