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Development of High Energy Software Control System



OBJECTIVE: Future aircraft with high energy demands will have very high peak heat loads, current draws and fast transients. We need to develop innovative novel software tools/approaches. They are sought to manage electrical and thermal subsystems at platform level. 

DESCRIPTION: High energy airborne systems are expected to reach 150 kW (optical) within a few years. These systems will have peak electrical power draws in excess of 500 kW, peak thermal loads in excess of 400 kW and will be subject to fast transients at the beginning and end of a laser shot, as well as, in the middle of a laser shot. The lasers are expected to be laser diode pumped. The pump diodes themselves have very fast turn-on times while the electrical generation and heat removal systems have much slower turn on times. For overall energy efficiency, it is desired to have as low a quiescent power draw as possible. State-of-the-art high energy laser diodes are typically cooled below 30 degrees C (86 degrees F), this may change in the near future to 50 degrees C (122 degrees F) or higher. The successful proposal will develop software tools/systems capable of controlling electrical and thermal management subsystems subject to the timing of pumps, generators, valves, laser diodes, laser gain media, turrets and other components of airborne laser weapon systems to meet the operational demand signal. The proposal may discuss the Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP-C) of components, sub-systems testing etc. These studies on new methods and technologies will have a good potential on improving the performance of commercial aircraft. 

PHASE I: It willl conduct a feasibility study and develop a high energy software control system capable of managing the electrical and thermal aspects of partner company's laser weapon system (LWS) model. The SBIR company will select a LWS model from an industry partner (weapon system contractor/engine companies, laser diode/laser source companies) and develop the software system capable of managing electrical and transient thermal challenges/issues. The SBIR company will participate in a workshop with stakeholders to insure requirements for prototype control system are clear. 

PHASE II: Itwill test the software control system on laboratory subscale prototypes or representative hardware to demonstrate successful platform – high energy system integration. Develop training manual and training plan to facilitate transition to the field. 

PHASE III: Demonstrate the Laser software control systems integration on a compatible aircraft platform. Provide training to stakeholders to accelerate transition to the field. Effort will complement an inital flight demo of high-powered laser pod on advanced tactical aircraft. 


1. Hitzigrath, R., "Improving Aircraft Fuel-Thermal Management," SAE Technical Paper 932086, 1993, doi: 10.4271/932086.; 2. Gray, Charles N., and Shayeson, Maurice W., "Aircraft Fuel Heat Sink Utilization,"; 3. Karimi, Kamiar J., PhD, Senior Technical Fellow, "Future Aircraft Power Systems - Integration Challenges," Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2007.; 4. Swain, E.F., "Aircraft Avionics Cooling, Present and Future," Proceedings of the IEEE 1998 National Aerospace and Electronics Conference, 1998. NAECON 1998.

KEYWORDS: Propulsion, Power, Thermal Management, Laser, Directed Energy, Aircraft Heat Sinks, Low-Compatible, And Weapons 

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