(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. an optically-pumped 4 micron diode laser was demonstrated and is being transitioned to the numerous users for self protection applications.
(U) Development and testing of the Chemical Oxygen-Iodine Laser (COIL) at small scale continues to produce significant improvements in performance and lasing efficiency. By modifying the oxygen generator to increase flow rate and reduce excited oxygen residence times, the amount of laser power per unit flow area has been improved by about 50%. Additionally, other tests have shown the feasibility of increasing the pressure in the optical cavity (thus reducing requirements for pumping) without significantly reducing laser performance and have also demonstrated the use of additional plastic components in the oxygen generator. Finally, lasing tests have begun on an advanced oxygen generator, based on uniform-droplet spray technology, with the potential to achieve further improvements in laser efficiency in a hardware configuration which is more suitable for thermal control and laser fuels recycling and regeneration. These tests establish a path for further development and scaling, to demonstrate a COIL technology base for reduced weight, volume, and fabrication costs for high power COIL devices in both ground-based and airborne applications.
|Laser Technology||Laser Technology|
|TECHNOLOGY- RDT&E||SPACE TECHNOLOGY|
(U) National Security Space Road Map Team, NSSA, Open Phone: (703) 808-6040, DSN 898-6040.
(U) 01 July 1997
(U) Road Map Production Date: 23 June 2001