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Proceedings Paper

Design considerations for air-to-air laser communications
Author(s): William L. Casey; Glenn R. Doughty; Robert K. Marston; John Muhonen
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Paper Abstract

The US Air Force has identified laser communications (lasercom) as a viable technology for several air-to-air communications applications, namely Strategic Data Exchange (SDE) between airborne command post (ABCP) aircraft and intraformation data links among fighter aircraft or low-flying, close-formation aircraft. Lasercom offers low probability of intercept (LPI), jam resistance, and high bandwidth capabilities due to its very short wavelength compared to radio frequency (RF) systems. This paper examines the requirements of lasercom systems to support these missions and presents the systems link analysis necessary to select preferred approaches. The state of key technologies such as lasers, detectors, filters, coding, acquisition, etc., form a basis to structure conceptual systems that meet mission requirements. There have been recent advances in these key technologies, which will significantly improve air-to-air lasercom system performance. The resultant systems are low risk and could be developed in minimum time. Adverse weather is a factor in lasercom capability, so several weather conditions are included in the analysis. The preferred systems are described and, finally, conclusions and recommendations are given that could lead to development of a prototype terminal for one of the above missions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 1991
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 1417, Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies III, (1 June 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.43745
Show Author Affiliations
William L. Casey, Rockwell International Corp. (United States)
Glenn R. Doughty, Rockwell International Corp. (United States)
Robert K. Marston, Rockwell International Corp. (United States)
John Muhonen, Rockwell International Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1417:
Free-Space Laser Communication Technologies III
David L. Begley; Bernard D. Seery, Editor(s)

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