Conformal HEL Phased Array Beam Control with Acquisition Pointing and Tracking (APT)
ABSTRACT: Optical Physics Company (OPC) in cooperation with Nutronics is proposing to combine two pioneering sets of optical phased array technologies developed independently at these two companies. The two technologies are OPC"s Holographic Beam Control (HBC) and Nutronics"Conformal Laser Weapon System (CLAWS). HBC addresses target illumination, aimpoint selection, aimpoint maintenance, and kill assessment; whereas, CLAWS addresses target path wavefront control. Their synergistic use performs target path wavefront control and local phase control: With CLAWS running a high bandwidth inner loop, HBC provides a mid-bandwidth outer loop to compensate stair mode errors and steer the beam to the aimpoint on the target. During the base Phase I effort the OPC-Nutronics team will develop a complete high fidelity time domain model of the hybrid HBC-CLAWS beam control architecture including wave-optic propagation through turbulence. The model will include all significant physical effects and hardware limitations including time of flight delays, processing precision, latency, misalignments, moving turbulence, target velocity and rotation, target bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), vibration, aerosol scatter, and sensor noise using 19 and 43 subapertures. All transmission medium, sensor, disturbance and actuator models will be individually tested and verified as well as integrated and tested in subsystems and as an entire system. BENEFIT: The target application is a conformal HEL system in a jet fighter. Conformal HEL designs (enabled by the proposed beam control method) promise extremely lightweight, high performance and cost-effective options which can enhance utility and speed deployment. The conformal design and advanced features of the proposed beam control system also make it suitable for imaging. The HEL system can be a reconnaissance as well as a target engagement tool. One can foresee deployment on remotely piloted armed unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Another application is space-based HEL defense which becomes practical when multiple apertures can be deployed on panels providing both high resolution imaging, aimpoint selection and high quality hit spots to defend against space-born threats. The beam control methods developed during this project are also applicable to ground based space object imaging, laser rangefinders, as well as commercial aircraft and ship defense. OPC has already demonstrated success with transitioning technologies developed under SBIR funding to ongoing research and acquisition programs. In particular, OPC is building deformable mirrors to meet the needs of several government and prime contractor customers.
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