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.
The realization of a high-energy laser weapon system by coupling a large number of industrial high-power fiber lasers is investigated. To perform the combination of the individual beams of the different fiber lasers within the optical path of the laser weapon, a special optical set-up is used. Each optical component is realized either as reflective component oras refractive optics. Both possibilities were investigated by simulations and experiments. From the results, the general aspects for the layout of the beam-guidance optics for a high-power fiber laser system are derived.
We present a novel device for fast, reproducible and low contrast minimum resolvable contrast (MRC) measurements
based on an OLED microdisplay. The high intensity resolution and luminosity of the employed display allows the
generation of target contrasts well below 0.5 % at brightness levels of more than 500 nits. Using a 4 m collimator we
were able to perform an MRC measurement over the full relevant spatial frequency range of a recently developed
terrestrial TV camera system. The small pixel pitch of the display allowed us to use a short collimator length and to
perform MRC measurements with high frequency resolution.