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Laser Enhanced Aerodynamic Drag Reduction (LEADR)



OBJECTIVE: To investigate, test and prototype the ability to reduce drag on a munition body by using laser energy/ discharge in order to decrease gun launched munition time of flight. 

DESCRIPTION: This effort looks to research, prototype and demonstrate the ability to use off-body laser discharge to effectively reduce the drag and significantly decrease the time of flight of gun fired munitions. This effort has applicability to at least four (4) Army Modernization Priorities which have expressed the need for gun fired munitions to have more range. Initial efforts will be conducted within medium caliber munitions form factors (20mm to 50mm in diameter) but ultimately having applicability across munitions calibers and types. System effectiveness analysis will also be conducted in order to quantify operational utility and increases to system lethality. 

PHASE I: Analysis and concept feasibility report analyzing the technology within medium caliber muniton (20mm to 50mm) form factors. Required power levels, possible drag reductions and preliminary mechanical and electrical integration feasibilities are to be determined. Analysis should be supported by relevant data. 

PHASE II: Wind tunnel models for phase one chosen form factors, with functioning power generation and ability to create off-body laser discharge and resulting drag reduction within gun launched munition relevant Mach numbers. 

PHASE III: TRL6/7 Technology demonstration of a gun launched munition, with onboard power generation, and LEADR system integrated into chosen munition form factors demonstrating the reduction of drag and increases in flight performance. Investigate the utilization of commercial components and manufacturing processes to ensure low cost munitions. 


1: Adelgren, Russell, et al. "Energy Deposition in Supersonic Flows." 39th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 2001, doi:10.2514/6.2001-885.

KEYWORDS: Drag Reduction, Munition Guidance, Munition, Munition Lethality, Gun Launched 

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