F-35 High Energy Laser

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spazsinbad

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Unread post20 Sep 2015, 17:34

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Unread post20 Sep 2015, 18:10

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Unread post20 Sep 2015, 18:26

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Unread post05 Oct 2015, 23:28

"Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35"
05 October, 2015 BY: James Drew Washington DC

Source:
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... 35-417416/

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month.

The F-35 has been in development since 2001 and only recently was declared fit for combat with the US Marine Corps. However, Lockheed’s Rob Afzal says company engineers are already thinking about how a laser weapon system could fit onto the supersonic stealth fighter and its usefulness in combat.

“Absolutely, we’re looking at concepts for the integration of a laser weapon onto the F-35,” the Lockheed senior fellow for laser and sensor systems said at a media briefing 5 October.

“We’re also looking at the utility and doing models and calculations so you would understand the utility of a leaser weapon system in the F-35.”

Afzal’s comments come amid a revolution in the combining and directing of electric lasers to essentially burn rockets, missiles and unmanned aircraft out of the sky.

The US military has unlocked millions of dollars for directed energy research and development, as has Germany, Russia and China.

In particular, the US Air Force is pursing laser weapon systems for installation on supersonic fighter jets as well as the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship being built for US special forces.

Once introduced, the F-35 will remain in service for 30 to 40 years, and is a likely candidate for a fighter-based airborne laser module.

Lockheed says it would offer an airborne derivative of the system it is developing for the army, which uses spectral beam combining to channel energy from a stack of individual fibre laser modules into a “single, high-power, monolithic beam”.

The company claims laser efficiency rates as high as 40%, and says its modular design is scalable to higher power outputs with significantly more redundancy and resistance to battle damage.

Combined with the Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control (ABC) turret the company is developing in partnership with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Air Force Research Laboratory – Lockheed says a functional airborne laser weapon could be deployed by the end of the decade.

“We’re certainly talking to the air force about their plans and roadmap for developing laser weapons for F-35 and other platforms,” says Afzal. “We would want to do that in partnership with the air force, both with the turret and platform.”

The company is taking a number of approaches to aircraft protection, and is also pursuing a miniature self-defense munition through a project called “KICM”.

Lockheed’s first 60kW laser will be delivered to the army “late next year,” and in the meantime the company will begin army-sponsored trials of its ground-based, 30kW high-energy laser testbed called ATHENA at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico later this year.
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Unread post06 Oct 2015, 01:58

Another 'Airborne Laser / F-35 one day' story here: http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/lock ... iber-tech/
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Unread post06 Oct 2015, 02:43

Getting rid of all that heat is another impetus for adaptive engine third-stream designs.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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Unread post06 Oct 2015, 21:27

"Lasers Could Be Coming To The F-35"
by Patrick Tucker
10/06/15

Source:
http://www.defenseone.com/technology/20 ... 35/122581/

Lockheed Martin’s new modular fiber lasers now convert fully 40 percent of input energy to output, which means that — along with advances in manufacturing, targeting, and size-weight-power minimization — the company’s now talking about putting a laser weapon on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“We are absolutely looking at concepts for integration,” Robert Afzal, the company’s senior fellow of laser systems and sensors, told reporters yesterday.

Unlike solid-state bulk lasers that rely on crystal components, or powerful but unstable chemical lasers, fiber lasers generate their beams inside fiber optics, making the device more flexible and efficient. Afzal compared it to a prism that works in reverse. Whereas a prism takes light and fractures it into beams of different colors, a fiber laser merges several beams into one.

Moreover, Lockheed Martin has developed a way to adjust a laser weapon’s output by adding modules, allowing it to be tailored for missions or threats.

The company is under contract to deliver a 60-kilowatt fiber laser to the Pentagon next year. “The Army has the option to add more modules and increase power from 60kW to 120kW as a result of the laser’s modularity,” the company said in a press release.

“Because the laser is so electrically efficient, the laser weapon will be smaller than previous technologies,” said Afzal.

Those efficiency gains could make it suitable for jets. The company faces competition from rival General Atomics, which has already delivered a 150-kilowatt solid-state laser to the Pentagon for testing and is looking into mounting one on the company’s Predator C drone.

The Air Force has recently become more bold in its predictions that a laser could be airborne by 2020. For instance, the Missile Defense Agency recently announced that they were revamping the Airborne Laser Program that was shuttered in 2012. The goal is to fly an airborne laser demonstrator in 2021.

“Everybody thinks you have a tendency to talk about high-powered microwaves and lasers and it’s kind of science fiction,” Air Combat Command leader Gen. Herbert Carlisle, the leader of Air Combat Command, said at the recent Air Force Association Air and Space Conference. “But this is a reality. … I believe that we will have a directed energy capability in a pod that can be mounted on a fighter aircraft very soon.”

Afzal cautioned that an F-35 laser was currently mostly a topic of interest and discussion within the company.

“What we’re doing is we’re looking at the concepts. How would a system even go into the F-35? And we’re also looking into the utility and doing models and calculations to see the utility,” he said.

And Air Force officials have hinted that they’re interested in putting a laser on the jet, although other have noted that such a weapon would primarily be intended to protect a plane from enemy aircraft — something the F-35’s stealth features are already supposed to do.

“We’re certainly talking to the Air Force about their plans, their roadmap, for developing laser weapons for F-35 and other platforms. We would want to do that in partnership with the Air Force,” said Iain Mckinnie, business development lead for Laser Sensors and Systems, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training.
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Unread post12 Oct 2015, 09:38

Dragon029 wrote:Do you have a link to the source PDF? I wouldn't mind seeing what else is talked about.

Edit: Found it.

Hey~do you have the access of this article?
i am not the member... Orz

http://aviationweek.com/technology/insi ... ser-weapon
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Unread post12 Oct 2015, 09:45

F-35 would not equip laser weapon , at least , until 2025.

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USAF holding old gunships for laser demos

The US Air Force has kept some Lockheed Martin AC-130U gunships marked for retirement for use as directed energy weapon testbeds as the service pursues airborne lasers for offensive and defensive uses.

Maj Gen Jerry Harris, vice-chief of Air Combat Command, says a number of gunships that would have otherwise been sent to the boneyard are now being used to test emerging directed energy technologies, like lasers and microwave energy guns.

“We have a requirement for a minimum number of gunships,” Harris said at a 28 July Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments directed energy summit in Washington. “We have some additional U-models we will fly longer for testbeds.”

Lt Gen Bradley Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, said at the event that he wants the new C-130J Ghostrider gunship being developed to have both an offensive airborne laser capability and “active denial system,” which is a microwave energy heat blast used to disperse crowds or a single threat.

“We want to build the ultimate battle plane that can fight its way to its objective,” the commander says.

While AFSOC’s primary focus is gunship-based lasers, Air Combat Command is also pursuing the technology for fighters and bombers. Harris says the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle has “power to spare” and a testbed aircraft is available for experimentation.

He says the air force is looking for airborne lasers for integration into a standard pod or conformal tank for laser demonstrations. “It’s past the time to test these in the labs; we need it in the field,” he says.

Harris says laser weapons probably won’t find their way onto the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter any time soon, but might be integrated in the future beyond the Block 4 rollout, which is due to add new capabilities to the fifth-generation jet from 2019 to 2025.
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Unread post12 Oct 2015, 13:34

I am under the impression that a high energy laser for future aircraft is mainly going to be used as a defensive countermeasure rather than an offensive weapon (though it sure can be). I am not a physicist but even though we have come a long way from "miniaturizing" or at least making them significantly smaller, they still require a large amount of energy. Would a future ADVENT engine help create enough power for these systems?
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Unread post12 Oct 2015, 14:05

charlielima223 wrote:I am under the impression that a high energy laser for future aircraft is mainly going to be used as a defensive countermeasure rather than an offensive weapon (though it sure can be). I am not a physicist but even though we have come a long way from "miniaturizing" or at least making them significantly smaller, they still require a large amount of energy. Would a future ADVENT engine help create enough power for these systems?


No both offensive and Defensive. AFRL's SHEILD system starts off with a smaller defensive system by 2020 and is looking to transition into an offensive system by 2022. Some of the transition is just moving to a larger laser (say 30-60KW to 100-150 KW for example), and another is to have enough power and cooling to handle longer and more frequent bursts. Work is on all fronts to solve a lot of these challenges both in the Fiber lasers, and SSL's. There is healthy competition among Lockheed, GA, NG and others in this domain. Directed Energy is probably the fastest growing component of internal R&D among the interested parties and from what I gather speaking to a couple of folks that have worked on the academic side of things - it is being seen as a breakthrough capability for everything from long range strike to air-dominance.

Inside Lockheed Martin’s Fiber-Laser Weapon

With inherently higher electrical efficiency and beam quality, fiber lasers are in a race to reach maturity before the military makes decisions on the development and deployment of high-energy electric laser weapon systems for defensive and offensive missions.

A key step is the U.S. Army’s planned demonstration in 2017 of a 60-kW fiber-laser system developed by Lockheed Martin. But rival solid-state lasers have already exceeded 100 kW in demonstrations and are at a higher technology readiness level (TRL) as the services eye the potential for early fielding of directed-energy weapons.

Lockheed has begun production of the fiber-laser modules for the 60-kW system. The company was awarded a $25 million contract in April to build and test the modular laser for integration into the Army’s Boeing-developed High-Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). “We will deliver the laser to the customer at the end of 2016,” says Lockheed senior fellow Rob Afzal.

Previously, Lockheed built a 30-kW system using internal funds to demonstrate the feasibility of combining the beams from multiple fiber lasers while maintaining beam quality and electrical efficiency. The modular technology allows the laser to scale up to power levels beyond 100 kW, Afzal says. After the 2017 demo, the Army plans to upgrade the HEL MD to 100 kW and could do this simply by adding modules, he adds.
Generating the laser beam by diode-pumping a long optical fiber results in higher beam quality and electrical efficiency but less power than solid-state devices using slabs of laser crystal as the gain medium. This requires the beams from multiple fibers to be combined efficiently to form a single high-power beam. Lockheed says its laser system can achieve 40% efficiency, reducing the power-generation and cooling requirements for the overall weapon system.

Afzal says the beam-combined fiber laser’s higher power and beam quality puts more irradiance on the target at greater range. This can increase engagement range or reduce defeat time, allowing a laser weapon system to “shoot-look-shoot” against multiple targets. Lockheed uses spectral beam combining. The output from each fiber-laser module is at a slightly different wavelength. A diffraction grating combines the beams by laying one on top of the other to form a single high-power beam—like a prism in reverse, he explains.

Compared with coherent beam combining used in other high-power lasers, spectral beam combining provides the highest “power-in-the-bucket” efficiency, a measure of beam quality that is a function of the power delivered to the target area. “The issue with a phased array is the sidelobes. The power in the lobes does not provide effect on the target,” says Afzal. “Coherent is efficient, but there is a lot of added complexity we feel isn’t necessary for the types of power and tactical applications we are trying to achieve. We went for the simplest, most elegant approach.”

The 30-kW Aladin demo system has around 100 fiber-laser modules. The 60-kW prototype for the Army has fewer, higher-power, kilowatt-class fiber lasers. “It’s almost 1 for 1 [lasers vs. kilowatts]. You can tack on 5-10%. That’s one of the big advantages of spectral beam combining,” says Afzal. On the end of each laser module is a delivery fiber that terminates in the beam-combiner box. This outputs a single high-power beam to the weapon system’s laser-beam director turret.

One aim of the demo system was to understand how to manufacture the lasers and what life-limited elements would wear out. The production modules are “more rugged, more traceable to a tactical vehicle and to beyond 100 kW,” he says. The truck-mounted HEL MD has been tested against mortars and unmanned aircraft with a 10-kW industrial fiber laser, but range and lethality was limited. After demonstration of the 60-kW system in 2017, plans call for tests of the 100-kW version by 2022.

Lockheed makes its own fiber lasers because of the need for high beam quality, but it uses component technologies such as optical fibers and pump diodes from the commercial market. “There have been two revolutions in lasers: telecommunications, and industrial cutting and welding. We bring them together to create a new class of laser,” Afzal says.

Industrial fiber lasers are available with higher power, up to 10 kW per fiber, but not with the quality required for beam combining. Most live-fire tests of laser weapons so far have used industrial lasers but scaled the power by aiming multiple beams at a common point so they overlap. This is done with the U.S. Navy’s 30-kW Laser Weapon System prototype, which has been deployed operationally for evaluation in the Persian Gulf on the forward-staging ship USS Ponce.
Advantages of a modular fiber laser include scaling, cooling and packaging. “With a modular design, you can scale to higher power by loading more modules into the rack, like blade servers in a server farm,” he says. Each module is independently cooled. “As we add more modules, we increase the size of the cooling system but not its complexity. It’s parallel, not serial. Previously, you ran into a scaling problem where, as the laser got more powerful and the slabs got bigger, you couldn’t get the heat out.”

Flexibility in packaging the modules is another benefit. “You can stack them vertically or horizontally, or in two cabinets. They are all independent, and the fiber delivers the power,” Afzal says. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is looking at systems for sixth-generation fighters where the laser modules would be distributed throughout the aircraft and the beams routed by fibers through the tight confines of the airframe to a conformal array on the fuselage surface.

As it begins building the Army system, Lockheed is studying how the fiber-laser technology can be applied to other requirements. “We are looking at how we could package the system into a weapons module for the Littoral Combat Ship or into a pod for an aircraft, as well as Army tactical vehicles,” he says.

One potential application is AFRL’s planned Self-Protected High-Energy Laser Demonstration (Shield), for which a solicitation is expected shortly. Shield aims to demo an anti-missile self-defense pod for fighters by 2020 and a longer-range, 100-kW system by 2022. The Air Force wants the laser technology for a self-defense pod to be scalable to an offensive weapon that can be carried by larger aircraft, beginning with special-operations gunships.

“The Shield technology level we can do now,” says Afzal. “We would look at modifications to make it more relevant to the Air Force, but it is not a next-generation system.” But the key issue could be maturity of the fiber-laser technology versus other solid-state electric lasers. Army trials of the 60-kW system will take Lockheed’s technology to TRL 6, “arguably TRL 7 depending on how they use the system and if they do tactical engagements,” he says. The race is on.
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Unread post16 Oct 2015, 02:04

Turbulence-taming Turret: Lockheed Martin Prototype Expands Laser Performance at Jet Speeds
15 Oct 2015 LM PR

"SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 15, 2015 – Because enemy aircraft and missiles can come from anywhere, a laser weapon system on a military aircraft will need to be able to fire in any direction. However, the laws of physics say that a laser only can engage targets in front of an aircraft that is travelling close to the speed of sound – unless atmospheric turbulence can be counteracted. That’s exactly what Lockheed Martin has done in developing a prototype laser turret for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), paving the way for laser weapon systems on tactical aircraft.

The Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control (ABC) turret is the first turret ever to demonstrate a 360-degree field of regard for laser weapon systems on an aircraft flying near the speed of sound. Its performance has been verified in nearly 60 flight tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 using a business jet as a low-cost flying test bed. As the aircraft travelled at jet cruise speeds, a low-power laser beam was fired through the turret’s optical window to measure and verify successful performance in all directions.

The design uses the latest aerodynamic and flow-control technology to minimize the impacts of turbulence on a laser beam. An optical compensation system, which uses deformable mirrors, then is used to ensure that the beam can get through the atmosphere to the target. Left unchecked, turbulence would scatter the light particles that make up a laser beam, much like fog diffuses a flashlight beam.

“This advanced turret design will enable tactical aircraft to have the same laser weapon system advantages as ground vehicles and ships,” said Doug Graham, vice president of missile systems and advanced programs, Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “This is an example of how Lockheed Martin is using a variety of innovative technologies to transform laser devices into integrated weapon systems.”

DARPA and AFRL will use the results of the flight tests in determining future requirements for laser weapon systems on high-speed aircraft and expanding their effectiveness.

Lockheed Martin is positioning laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield because of their advantages of speed, flexibility, precision and low cost per engagement. The corporation’s advances include the development and demonstration of precision pointing and control, line-of-sight stabilization and adaptive optics and high-power fiber lasers."

Source: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/p ... darpa.html
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Unread post16 Oct 2015, 02:31

Great ! Another technicall hurdle overcome. Momentum has definitely been building as a lot of the investment in laser research going back decades to Star Wars seems about to bear fruit.
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Unread post12 Apr 2016, 02:03

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Unread post12 Apr 2016, 21:58

I wonder how many turrets will be needed for 360deg coverage, and will the system be flexible, and powerfull enough to attach more than one target at a time, i.e. using one turret per target?
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