5 October 2012 Is this the time for a high-energy laser weapon program?
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The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has made large investments weaponizing laser technology for air defense. Despite billions of dollars spent, there has not been a successful transition of a high-energy laser (HEL) weapon from the lab to the field. Is the dream of a low-cost-per-shot, deep-magazine, speed-of-light HEL weapon an impossible dream or a set of technologies that are ready to emerge on the modern battlefield? Because of the rapid revolution taking place in modern warfare that is making conventional defensive weapons very expensive relative to the offensive weapons systems, the pull for less expensive air defense may necessitate a HEL weapon system. Also, due to the recent technological developments in solid-state lasers (SSL), especially fiber lasers, used throughout manufacturing for cutting and welding, a HEL weapon finally may be able to meet all the requirements of ease of use, sustainability, and reliability. Due to changes in warfare and SSL technology advances, the era of HEL weapons isn't over; it may be just starting if DoD takes an evolutionary approach to fielding a HEL weapon. The U.S. Navy, with its large ships and their available electric power, should lead the way.
© 2013 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
David H. Kiel, David H. Kiel, } "Is this the time for a high-energy laser weapon program?," Optical Engineering 52(2), 021008 (5 October 2012). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.OE.52.2.021008 . Submission:


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