Defense

June 11, 2014

Army develops first-of-its kind phase-coherent fiber laser array system

Tags:
Jenna Brady
Adelphi, Md.

Pictured here, a U.S. Army Research Laboratory Fiber Laser Sub-Apertures.

 
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Computational and Information Science Directorate’s Intelligent Optics Team, and partners, recently developed, engineered, demonstrated and delivered the world’s first known working Adaptive Phase Coherent Fiber Laser Array system, which will better enable Soldiers’ directed energy weapons and laser communication systems on the battlefield.

The key members of the Intelligent Optics Team include: Dr. Jiang Liu, electronics engineer, Dr. Leonid Beresnev, physicist, and Gary Carhart, electronics technician, all from CISD’s Atmospheric Sensing Branch.

The development of the system spurred from a collaborative agreement between U.S. Army Research Laboratory, known as ARL, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs, Optonicus and various academic partners.

ARL’s efforts were central to the recent successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency real-world development of a 21-element optical phased array system, of which ARL developed and provided the low-power and high-power fiber subapertures and other key components including control electronics and operation software.

The demonstration was part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Excalibur program, the overall goal of which is to develop coherent optical phased array technologies as an enabler for scalable laser weapons.

The fiber laser array system, developed after more than a decade of research and testing, consists of phase locking and beam combining for multichannel, 7 and 19, fiber laser sub-aperture arrays. An ARL patent and patents related to the system are currently pending.

Pictured here, a U.S. Army Research Laboratory 19-channel Coherent Fiber Laser Array System.

With this phase locking feature and compensation mechanism, physical disturbances such as vibration of the system and atmospheric turbulence will not affect the operation of the laser beams.

The system uses the internal interference feedback of multi-laser beam tails instead of using the conventional beam-splitter sensors placed on the output passage of the laser beams. This allows the system to deliver the same amount of total energy as a monolithic single-aperture laser, but the energy density is multiple times higher at the center of the combined beam.

This architecture allows the system to be dramatically reduced in size, weight and cost by multiple times compared to existing laser weapon systems, all while delivering the same power.

An innovative high-speed control algorithm “Stochastic Parallel Gradient Descent,” is applied to control the beams and their phases coherently in addition to compensating the atmospheric turbulence, maximizing the laser irradiance. An ARL patent for this is pending as well.

In terms of benefits to Soldiers on the battlefield, this one-of-a-kind system is making great strides.

The system architecture will allow for more efficient, more lethal, and more mobile and deployable laser weapon systems, thus it can be widely used by the Army as a directed energy laser weapon system in all platforms including both ground and aerial.

Results of Coherent Beam Combining.

In addition, the output beam of the array can be used as a countermeasure system to quickly and accurately disable and destroy the incoming threat of missiles and other adversary reconnaissance.

“ARL’s coherent fiber laser arrays are the world’s first working devices and directed energy subsystem of its kind. They are the results of the diligent work of ARL researchers, for nearly a decade. I am so proud of our team for achieving such a significant milestone,” said Liu.

“The successful development and delivery of this system demonstrated the innovativeness and capability of ARL as a world-class research organization. ARL is a critical and vital piece in contributing to the nation’s defense research and development,” Liu said.

Future tests of the system will be conducted to reach the ultimate goal of developing a 100-kilowatt-class laser system in a scalable size, weight and power optical phased array configuration compatible with existing weapon system platforms that will further enhance the capabilities of soldiers on the battlefield.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>