8 November 2012 High-power beam combining: a step to a future laser weapon system
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Abstract
Due to the enormous progress in the field of high-power fiber lasers during the last years commercial industrial fiber lasers are now available, which deliver a near-diffraction limited beam with power levels up to10kW. For the realization of a future laser weapon system, which can be used for Counter-RAM or similar air defence applications, a laser source with a beam power at the level of 100kW or more is required. At MBDA Germany the concept for a high-energy laser weapon system is investigated, which is based on such existing industrial laser sources as mentioned before. A number of individual high-power fiber laser beams are combined together, using one common beam director telescope. By this ‛geometric‛ beam coupling scheme, sufficient laser beam power for an operational laser weapon system can be achieved. The individual beams from the different lasers are steered by servo-loops, using fast tip-tilt mirrors. This principle enables the concentration of the total laser beam power at the common focal point on a distant target, also allowing fine tracking of target movements and first order compensation of turbulence effects on laser beam propagation. The proposed beam combination concept was demonstrated using several experimental set-ups. Different experiments were performed, to investigate laser beam target interaction and target fine tracking also at large distances. Content and results of these investigations are reported. An example for the lay-out of an Air Defence High Energy Laser Weapon (ADHELW ) is given. It can be concluded, that geometric high-power beam combining is an important step for the realization of a laser weapon system in the near future.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Rudolf Protz, Jürgen Zoz, Franz Geidek, Stephan Dietrich, Michael Fall, "High-power beam combining: a step to a future laser weapon system", Proc. SPIE 8547, High-Power Lasers 2012: Technology and Systems, 854708 (8 November 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.978844; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.978844
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