Share Email Print

Optical Engineering

Is this the time for a high-energy laser weapon program?
Author(s): David H. Kiel
Format Member Price Non-Member Price
PDF $20.00 $25.00
cover GOOD NEWS! Your organization subscribes to the SPIE Digital Library. You may be able to download this paper for free. Check Access

Paper Abstract

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.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 October 2012
PDF: 4 pages
Opt. Eng. 52(2) 021008 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.52.2.021008
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 52, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
David H. Kiel, Naval Sea Systems Command (United States)

© SPIE. Terms of Use
Back to Top