Defense application for a chemical oxygen laser (COL) is explained. Although a COL has not yet been successful in lasing, the oscillator was estimated to produce a giant pulse with the full width at half maximum (FWHM) of ~0.05ms which makes the damage threshold for the mirrors several-order higher than that for a typical solid-state laser with a ~10ns pulse width. Therefore it has a potential to produce MJ class output considering the simple scalability of being a chemical laser. Since within 0.05ms a supersonic aircraft can move only a few centimeters which is roughly equal to the spot size of the focused beam at ~10km away using a large-diameter focusing mirror, a COL has a potential to make a damage to an enemy aircraft by a single shot without beam tracking. But since the extracted beam can propagate up to a few kilometers due to the absorption in the air, it may be suitable to use in space. While a chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL) can give a pulsed output with a width of ~2 ms using a high-pressure singlet oxygen generator (SOG). Therefore a pulsed COIL may also not require beam tracking if a target aircraft is approaching. Another advantage for these pulsed high-energy lasers (HELs) is that, in case of propagating in cloud or fog, much less energy is required for a laser for aerosol vaporization (LAV) than that of a LAV for a CW HEL. Considerations to use a COL as a directed energy weapon (DEW) in a point defense system are shown.
K. Takehisa, K. Takehisa,
"Proposal of a defense application for a chemical oxygen laser", Proc. SPIE 9466, Laser Technology for Defense and Security XI, 94660W (20 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2178011; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2178011