23 May 2013 High-energy laser activities at MBDA Germany
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Abstract
At MBDA Germany a concept for a high-energy laser weapon system is investigated, which is based on existing industrial laser sources. Due to the enormous progress in the field of high-power fiber lasers, commercial industrial fiber lasers are now available delivering a nearly-diffraction limited beam quality with power levels of up to 10 kW. By using a geometric beam coupling scheme, a number of individual high-power fiber laser beams are combined together using one common beam director telescope. A total laser beam power of more than 100 kW can be achieved, which is sufficient for an operational laser weapon system. 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 one 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 by using different experimental set-ups. A number of experiments were performed successfully to investigate laser beam target interaction and target fine tracking, also at large distances and at moving targets. Content and results of these investigations are reported, which demonstrate the complete engagement sequence for a C-RAM scenario. This includes subsequent steps of target acquisition by radar and IR optics, followed by large angle coarse tracking, active fine tracking and destruction of the target by the laser system. This successful implementation of geometric beam combining is an important step for the realization of a laser weapon system in the near future.
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Bernd Mohring, Stephan Dietrich, Leonardo Tassini, Rudolf Protz, Franz Geidek, Jürgen Zoz, "High-energy laser activities at MBDA Germany", Proc. SPIE 8733, Laser Technology for Defense and Security IX, 873304 (23 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2015775; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2015775
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