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Solid State Laser News

fredymac

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bobbymike said:
https://www.army.mil/article/195650/army_developing_lasers_that_pierce_fog_dust_to_destroy_targets
I wonder if the editor of that piece mangled some quotes. Adaptive Optics corrects for turbulence and defocus. Wavelength selection can ameliorate dust/fog but basically you just power through it (up to a level). Like laser guided bombs, HELs will always be subject to weather (no issue for space or high altitude).
 

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https://www.afcea.org/content/air-force-takes-aim-lasers-fighter-jets
 

fredymac

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Lockheed wins SHIELD laser contract.
Basically a development of their ongoing spectrally combined fiber laser projects. The artwork accompanying the news announcement hides the laser pod but makes for another contribution to various 6th gen fighter concepts.

"BOTHELL, Wash., Nov. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) $26.3 million for the design, development and production of a high power fiber laser. AFRL plans to test the laser on a tactical fighter jet by 2021. The contract is part of AFRL's Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program, and is a major step forward in the maturation of protective airborne laser systems."

http://news.lockheedmartin.com/2017-11-06-Lockheed-Martin-Receives-Contract-to-Develop-Compact-Airborne-High-Energy-Laser-Capabilities#assets_117
 

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bring_it_on

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Eyeing 'great promise' of directed energy, MDA awards another boost-phase intercept contract


The Defense Department has selected General Atomics to compete in the new technology demonstration effort to integrate a low-power laser on a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle, expanding the project to develop different approaches for a potential precursor to an airborne laser capable of intercepting ballistic missiles during the boost phase of flight.

On Nov. 1, the Missile Defense Agency awarded General Atomics' San Diego, CA-based Electromagnetic Systems Group an $8.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Low-Power Laser Demonstrator Phase 1 effort.

"Under this new contract, the contractor will perform the next step for the LPLD effort that addresses laser power and aperture size by integrating and testing a low-power laser on an unmanned aerial vehicle," the Defense Department said in a Nov. 6 contract award announcement.

On Oct. 5, MDA awarded Lockheed Martin a $9.4 million contract as part of the same effort, which aims to explore a potential directed-energy mission while refining a missile defense concept of operations doctrine for incorporating lasers into the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

Following the award to Lockheed, MDA's Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said, "Our plan is to award similar technology demonstration contracts later this year."

MDA is developing the Ballistic Missile Defense System with the goal of providing a "layered" shield that integrates sensors and interceptors to intercept ballistic missiles during different phases of flight. The current program of record focuses on mid-course and terminal phases of flight, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and Patriot.

MDA is now working to get "at the hardest phase of flight, which is boost phase," agency Deputy Director Rear Adm. Jon Hill said at a Nov. 2 public gathering on Capitol Hill.

A directed-energy weapon is the focus of the boost-phase effort.

"There is great promise in directed energy," Hill said. "For us, it is all about scaling. Scaling up the power. . . . If you're going to be going after a ballistic missile, you don't want to be over enemy territory. You don't want to be in range of the air defense batteries. You want to be at standoff range and power gets you that standoff range."

Under the contracts MDA has recently awarded Lockheed and General Atomics, both companies are required to flesh out an entire LPLD system -- a tracking laser, a defensive laser and a beam-control system integrated onto a high-altitude aircraft of their choosing.

General Atomics' unmanned aircraft system business unit provides MQ-9 Reapers aircraft to MDA to demonstrate acquisition and tracking at operational ranges with a Multi-spectral Targeting System.

In 2009, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates terminated MDA's previous attempt to develop a flying laser installed in a highly modified Boeing 747 designed to knock down ballistic missiles during the boost phase of flight, a project launched in 1996 that ran up a $5 billion tab.

"We learned a lot about high-altitude flying and shooting down ballistic missiles," Hill said of the Airborne Laser program. "It is not easy; the CONOPS were really difficult," he said of the concepts of operations.

After more than 10 years of work, MDA could not produce a laser with enough power to knock down a missile in boost phase more than 50 miles from the launch site, requiring the huge planes to loiter deep in enemy airspace to have a chance at a direct hit.

"You almost have to have exquisite intelligence and indications and warning; you've got to know where these launch sites are and where they are going to occur so you can have your sensors and weapons in place to deal with boost phase," Hill said. "That is hard."

In 2015, however, MDA launched a new boost-phase project, betting that breakthroughs in directed-energy technology could produce a speed-of-light missile defense program.

Technical challenges include scaling a laser to hundreds of kilowatts -- or even megawatt-class power and producing a system with high electrical-to-optical efficiency and excellent beam quality.

Earlier this summer, MDA began window shopping for a high-altitude aircraft to carry a laser as part of the project to develop a prototype for a new airborne laser and advance the long-standing desire to intercept adversary ballistic missiles during the boost phase of flight.

"We're working on the technical side at the Missile Defense Agency," Hill said. "The combatant commanders and the services are thinking through, whether it is the first launch -- because it does matter where you are at -- or whether it is after the first launch. The actions you take might be different. That's an operational question the forces are dealing with today."

In June, MDA solicited industry for ideas on high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft for the Directed Energy Demonstrator Development project, which aims to pair an aircraft with the Low Power Laser Demonstrator project. The two high-energy laser projects that MDA believes hold promise are the Diode Pumped Alkali Laser System (DPALS) with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, and Fiber Combining Lasers (FCL) with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory.

"If we can produce the technology, understand it, put the investments in it, and determine whether or not it is feasible, and get to a higher powered laser and get it to a weight that can be carried by a long-endurance aircraft, then we have an option that we can provide warfighters," MDA's deputy director said.
 

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AC-130 would also need "sonic" and HPMW non-lethal weapon. At the kind of cruise altitude*, the precision will be slightly below metric or metrics for the former, providing invaluable flexibility to this platform*.

*I am considering that if they go non-lethal, the risks have beendeemed acceptable to go down at med alt.
 

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Laser weapon subsystems maturing under SHiELD effort head to PDR


The Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator program is moving through preliminary design reviews for the laser weapon's subsystems and is on track to conduct a low-power system PDR in spring 2018, an Air Force spokesman said this week.

A beam-control subsystem PDR is finished, and Air Force spokesman Jim Fisher said Nov. 9 PDR for the power, cooling and aircraft pod infrastructure will take place in the next few months.

"The beam-control subsystem is close to a final design," Fisher said. "The pod structure, power, system control and thermal subsystems are quickly progressing to a preliminary design. The high-energy laser subsystem . . . design will proceed on a parallel schedule to the low-power system development and flight test. The SHiELD program is completing the interface specifications to ensure all subsystem interconnections are addressed and the subsystems work in concert prior to fabrication of the beam-control and pod subsystems."

SHiELD aims to add a laser weapon to an F-15 in the 2020s to shoot down ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles. Pod integration is slated for fiscal year 2018 with a high-power flight demonstration by FY-21. That effort may soon shift to focus on testing the laser pod on a KC-135 or a mobility platform in the next two years, based on the outcome of studies taking place at Air Mobility Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Boeing is working with Lockheed Martin, which holds a contract worth up to $26.3 million to mature the laser beam, to advance the pod design and plans to complete a preliminary design review in December, Boeing spokeswoman Cheryl Sampson said in an Oct. 27 email. Boeing's Laser Pod Research and Development contract is worth up to $90 million.

Boeing will integrate its pod with Northrop Grumman's beam-control system in phase one of SHiELD and with Lockheed’s high-power laser in phase two. Beam-control development is funded by the $39 million SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects contract; the compact, high-power fiber laser falls under the Laser Advancements for Next-Generation Compact Environment award.

"In the development of laser weapon systems, the companies are exploring ways to work together to accelerate the transition from demonstration to fielded capability," Sampson said. "Once the design is completed for SHiELD phase one, Boeing will build the pod and integrate the beam-control system and a low-power laser for initial flight demonstration and testing. Successful flight testing will be followed by integration of the high-power LANCE laser into the pod for SHiELD phase two flight testing."

Contractors will piece together one flight-worthy system that can be used for research and testing but that falls short of the requirements needed to qualify as a system-level prototype. Engineers must design the "fairly large," externally mounted weapon to withstand G-forces, vibration and other aspects of flight, and ensure it can fire well while airborne, Fisher said. The pod connects the laser to its power source inside the aircraft and can be jettisoned in case of emergency.

Fisher said the podded system -- which can be installed onto a variety of platforms -- complicates the design process but would ultimately be more useful.


In a Nov. 7 press call, Rob Afzal, senior fellow of laser weapon systems at Lockheed, said the laser's power will be "tens of kilowatts" but declined to provide specifics. Lockheed's challenge is to shrink the laser's size and energy needs while retaining enough power to defend an aircraft.

"We're the last contract of the three and therefore we have to match the interfaces of the beam-control system and also on the pod infrastructure, just literally the locations, how you would actually load it into the pod, if there are any obstructions, and then very importantly, how best are we going to mate to the power and cooling system?" Afzal said.

He continued: "Because we understand the physics and engineering of these high-power fiber lasers and we control the design all the way from electric power input to laser photons output, we are able to customize the packaging of the fiber laser system so it can mate best to our partners on STRAFE and LPRD."

Expertise from earlier laser design, infrastructure and test efforts like the airborne laser and advanced tactical laser programs allow SHiELD to rapidly develop subsystems and quickly decide how each part should work together, Fisher said.

"The program is utilizing a rigorous systems engineering process including documenting trade studies, tests, modeling and analyses that inform decisions, to include a repository of lessons learned," Fisher added. "The SHiELD system is being built for demonstration purposes and will not be an operational system. However, the program still has to meet multiple subsystem- and system-level requirements that address reliability, maintainability and potential for reproducibility."
 

bobbymike

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https://www.defensenews.com/news/2017/11/14/air-force-to-begin-exploring-use-of-defensive-laser-weapons-on-kc-135s/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN%20DNR%2011.14.17&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Daily%20News%20Roundup
 

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https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/12/breakthrough-combat-lasers-for-f15-jets-and-antimissile-drones.html
 

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https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/surface-navy-association/2018/01/10/navys-next-amphibious-warship-to-get-laser-weapon/
 

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https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/01/laser-are-getting-ten-times-more-powerful-every-3-years-soon-exawatt-lasers-will-unlock-fusion-and-more.html
 

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http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2018/1/12/navy-on-steady-path-to-integrate-lasers-on-warships
 

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https://overthehorizonmdos.com/2018/01/24/countering-hypersonic-threats-with-directed-energy/

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1038122.pdf
 

marauder2048

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DOD Contracts for Jan. 26, 2018


Lockheed Martin Aculight Corp., Bothell, Washington, is being awarded a $150,022,901 cost-plus-incentive-fee
contract for Surface Navy Laser Weapon System Increment 1, High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with
surveillance system. Under this contract Lockheed Martin Aculight Corp. will develop, manufacture, and deliver two
test units in fiscal 2020 (one unit for DDG 51 FLT IIA, and one for land-based testing). This contract includes options
which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $942,818,114. Work will be performed in
Bothell, Washington (52 percent); Moorestown, New Jersey (31 percent); Owego, New York (9 percent); Marion,
Massachusetts (3 percent); Clearwater, Florida (3 percent); Manassas, Virginia (0.9 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (0.6
percent); and Akron, Ohio (0.5 percent), and is expected to be completed by April 2020. Fiscal 2018 research,
development, testing, and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $3,500,000 will be obligated at time of award and
will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business
Opportunities website, with four proposals received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard,
District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-18-C-5392).
 

fredymac

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Dune Buggy laser. Needs more Watts. Main thing of interest is they are using a modified sensor gimbal and simply plumb an HEL fiber though it (and apply HEL coatings on the optical elements that reflect/transmit the beam).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvAxR3H13R4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoYshBJY00U
 

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I'll be impressed when they can shoot one of these down in flight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=tWYW5nG12So
 

fredymac

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HELIOS laser program status and some general comments on HEL weapons.

Lockheed is pursuing fiber based HEL as the winning architecture and they mention 40% efficiency for the Army system. I think slab based HEL is now being left behind and only General Atomics with their HELLADS design will be in contention. For extremely high power, the free electron laser is still the only concept that can get there unless Alkali gas lasers make a surprise showing. With funding finally being restored, the Navy should resurrect the Jefferson Lab 150KW FEL program.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWJY1oB8gSc
 

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https://news.usni.org/2018/02/26/laser_weapons_usnavy_330m

The Navy proposed spending $299 million in Fiscal Year 2019 on laser systems to protect ships against current and anticipated future threats, as part of a rapid prototyping, experimentation and demonstration initiative.

For nearly a decade, the Navy has considered laser technology a more cost-efficient and effective tool to protect ships from emerging threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small patrol craft that could swarm a surface ship, according to a Congressional Research Service report, Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress.
 

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http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/02/russia-claims-it-now-has-lasers-shoot-satellites/146243/?oref=defenseone_today_nl

Russian defense companies have created a plane-mounted laser that can hit satellites — at least according to an anonymous source quoted by Russian news agency Interfax. On Saturday, an Interfax report cited the source as saying that weapons maker Almaz-Antey has “completed work on the anti-satellite complex,” which includes the laser and associated ground control gear.
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/03/first-combat-laser-for-navy-warship-lockheed-helios/

WASHINGTON: By 2020, for the first time, the US Navy will put a lethal laser on a warship.

“This is a very big deal,” said Mark Gunzinger of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, a longtime advocate of lasers. “It is clear evidence of the progress that has been made over the last several years on maturing solid state lasers. We are talking about lasers that now have the power and beam quality needed to defend against UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), small boat threats, and possibly some weapons (e.g. incoming missiles) over short ranges.”
 

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https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/military/lockheed-martin-develops-helios-laser-weapon-for-us-navy

The U.S. Navy's next laser weapon will break new ground for high-energy lasers. The Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a US $150 million contract to develop, build, and deliver two copies of a new laser weapon for use on destroyers.

The new laser weapon system is called the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) system for the way it integrates three distinct capabilities.

One is a high-energy laser that the Navy has specified should generate 60 to 150 kilowatts of steady power, enough to disable or destroy small boats or hostile drones (called "unmanned aerial systems" by the military).
 

bring_it_on

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From the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) FY19 Unfunded Priorities List:

Continues research and development of three
separate laser scaling efforts with the goal of
demonstrating a 500 kilowatt (kW) laser by 2022 and a
best of breed 1 Megawatt (MW) laser capability by
2024.
 

fredymac

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bring_it_on said:
From the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) FY19 Unfunded Priorities List:

Continues research and development of three
separate laser scaling efforts with the goal of
demonstrating a 500 kilowatt (kW) laser by 2022 and a
best of breed 1 Megawatt (MW) laser capability by
2024.
Was there any description of the three separate scaling projects? I am curious if they are all the same architecture of if they represent different types of HEL. I am not sure any solid state laser system has claimed it can reach the 1MW level.
 

bring_it_on

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The project name is : "Laser Scaling" and in the FY18 budget materials was under Technology Maturation Initiatives PE: 0604115C -Directed Energy Demonstrator Development. It's a Multi-Billion dollar project through 2024, distinct (funding stream and program) from the High Altitude Airborne HEL.

https://goo.gl/Wb3hYn
 

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https://twitter.com/JamesDrewNews/status/976440119342313473

Sorry, not sorry about the music ;D
 

bring_it_on

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It is mobile. They could probably shrink it down to something much smaller over time so that it can be moved around more effectively.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EvnZr046C4
 

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Given that the 100 kW HEL would be mounted on an FMTV, I assume they would want a complementary HPM payload on a similar vehicle as well. Would be better I suppose for IFPC since that is the mover they are using for that entire effort. As a complement to Patriot you could probably do this on the same tractor but then for applications like base defense I don't think it matters a lot for a lot of potential sites.
 

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Air Force boosts directed-energy experiment funds, prepares for first tests


Several directed-energy research programs sit at various points in the development pipeline: Air Force Special Operations Command hopes to put a laser on the new AC-130J gunship, and Tom Lockhart, director of the Air Force's Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office, said the service sees that effort as its first foray into operationalizing a laser weapon.

The SHiELD program, which will add a laser to the F-15 in the 2020s, is the Air Force's main effort to reduce risk in developing integrated laser weapons and overcoming the size, weight, power, airflow and targeting hurdles of flight. Tests will begin this summer with flight tests to follow next summer, Lockhart told reporters at a March 19 briefing.

Inside the Air Force reported last year SHiELD plans to integrate an external laser pod onto an F-15 in FY-18 before designing an internal system. Following a lower-power test, the service will see whether a high-power laser can shoot down an infrared-guided missile in FY-21.

Another fledgling effort to equip the KC-135 with a defensive laser is in its infancy, and Lockhart told reporters the service is considering what form that weapon should take. The Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Mobility Command have already assessed the feasibility of hanging a podded laser on the tanker, and the service could integrate a laser onto a mobility aircraft before the fighter jet demonstration.

"It looks like a roll-on capability," Lockhart said of a KC-135 weapon. "We started out with the fighter and the pod. For a heavier aircraft, a roll-on capability kind of makes sense, but it's not complete. You need to have the size, weight and power considerations if you want to make a fully integrated system."

KC-135 studies will continue concurrently with the SHiELD program's work.

AFRL officials noted this week four directed-energy experiments will occur over the next three years: one to counter unmanned aerial systems, a second to defeat cruise missiles, a third to protect large, slow aircraft like tankers and cargo planes, and a fourth to wield high-powered microwaves in a launchable weapon.

"Some of them, it just may be the assessment part . . . really understanding that heavy aircraft and how to put a laser on it," Lockhart said. "The counter-UAS, we're hopefully going to try to actually do an experiment where we can actually [vet] some of these commercial technologies that are out there, very similar to what we did with light attack."

Bill Cooper, another AFRL official, told ITAF this week Kirtland Air Force Base, NM, will host a meeting with the SDPE office in mid-April to discuss next steps for the counter-cruise missile campaign.

AFRL will launch its first experiment to use directed energy to defend bases against small unmanned aerial systems in October, Cooper said at a conference in Washington this week.

Cooper, director of AFRL's Hybrid Defense of Restricted Airspace (HyDRA) study, said at a March 21 Booz Allen Hamilton conference the Air Force will vet commercial systems against encroaching UAS at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The five-year, $10 million HyDRA study, ending in FY-19, helps inform the experiment by gathering information on the operational needs for such a defensive system.

Another round to integrate subsystems into the Medusa command-and-control system, which is based on an Army product, will follow in June 2019, Cooper said.
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/03/raytheon-lasers-microwaves-target-counter-drone-market-worth-billions/

WASHINGTON: The market for weapons that can shoot down small drones, used by the likes of Hezbollah and Daesh, should rise from almost nothing to “several billion dollars” over the next five years. Raytheon is pushing hard to lock in as much of this market as it can, building both High Energy Laser (HEL) and High Powered Microwave (HPM) weapons that can find, fix and kill or disable the increasingly cheap and capable drones.

Evan Hunt, the company’s senior manager for HEL, offered that market estimate when I asked him his estimate for the market over the next five years. Considering there is roughly a quarter of a billion in the 2019 Pentagon budget request for Air Force directed energy work, that’s a mighty steep curve
 

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Couple of Boeing twitter videos.

https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/975837724669284352

https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/976859489650475008
 

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https://www.boozallen.com/d/event/directed-energy-summit-2018.html

The Directed Energy Summit has concluded. We’ll post highlights and videos soon. For the fourth year, senior leaders from the U.S. government, defense, and industry have met to explore the impact directed energy weapons could have on our national security and defense strategies.

To give you a preview of topics discussed, here’s a Q&A with Senior Fellow Mark Gunzinger of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), Booz Allen’s co-sponsor for the summit. CSBA is the premiere forum for addressing the potential of directed energy technologies.
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtdcXouhYsU
 

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A new study calls for the U.S. to step up its laser R&D efforts to better compete with major overseas efforts to build large, high-power laser systems, and notes progress and milestones at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Centerand other sites.

An investment in this so-called “second laser revolution” promises to open up a range of applications, from machining to medicine to particle acceleration, according to the December report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which offers independent analysis to government agencies and policymakers.

The 280-page report, “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light,” recommends increased coordination and collaboration by government labs and agencies, universities, and industry to build up U.S. laser facilities and capabilities.

It also recommends that the DOE lead the creation of a national strategy to develop and operate large-scale national laboratory-based laser projects, midscale projects that could potentially be hosted at universities, and a laser tech-transfer program connecting industry, academia, and national labs.

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24939/opportunities-in-intense-ultrafast-lasers-reaching-for-the-brightest-light
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https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/04/us-military-accelerating-useful-combat-laser-testing-this-year-for-deployments-2020-2022.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook
 

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Nonlethal DE developments (some presented during the recent DE summit in Washington).

The Active Denial system is apparently still alive although employing it has been politically restricted. A new application is using laser induced plasma to create audible effects ranging from very loud bangs to modulating the sound to transmit voice commands. I seem to recall high energy microwaves can also create "voice of god" effects although it may be at a field strength high enough to cause physical injury.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvP_v4UOXt4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eJzcPz8ujo
 

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Found this old (1998) video that goes over the history of the first airborne laser (ALL) and briefly discusses the ABL laser that was then under development. The ALL used a gas dynamic laser (essentially a rocket engine) to produce a 10.6 micron (LWIR) beam of around 450KW. The ABL used an oxygen-iodine chemical reaction (much slower chemical mass flows) to produce a 1.3 micron beam (focuses energy into a spot 8 times smaller and 64 times more irradiance) with far higher power. The ALL shot down 6 Sidewinder air to air missiles and 3 BQM drones in 1983 . It was slated to shoot down an ICBM target but congress defunded the test and the program was cancelled. The aerodynamic hump on the top had a phased array radar designed to fit in it but it was never installed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0vQ18DjUTQ
 
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