27 January 2004 Air Force Research Laboratory program in active tracking
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Large laser systems have historically been considered as weapons, but recently, the Air Force has pursued lower power lasers for the purpose of actively tracking targets of interest. In this paper, we will apply some recent results in active tracking system design to the problem of precisely tracking small objects at low elevations from the AFRL Maui site. The intent is to develop technology that applies not only to the higher power laser systems, but also for stand-alone purposes such as precision tracking and target stabilization. We will also indicate some potential benefit to a relay mirror hovering directly above the Maui site as a way around the very strong atmospheric effects encountered in low-elevation engagements. Progress has also permitted us to consider using lasers for more subtle applications such as target designation, tracking, and discrimination. In this paper, we will review the state of the art of active tracking, including effects such as laser beam quality, diffraction, atmospheric turbulence, and other aspects of laser interactions with the propagation environment. We will present the theory for using relatively low-power lasers in tracking applications.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
James F. Riker, James F. Riker, "Air Force Research Laboratory program in active tracking", Proc. SPIE 5160, Free-Space Laser Communication and Active Laser Illumination III, (27 January 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.512262; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.512262

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