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Phased Array Laser Beam Steering


OBJECTIVE: Develop a novel phased array laser beam steering capability for large-aperture high-power combined fiber laser systems. This innovative capability should allow for fine beam steering on the order of micro-radians to nano-radians with potential traceability to larger angle beam steering. DESCRIPTION: Pointing High Energy Lasers (HELs) over great distances requires precision optical systems. Proposed high altitude platform beam director systems are projected to comprise a significant portion of the weapon system weight. Phased array beam steering systems hold the potential to reduce system weight by eliminating large telescope and beam director optics. Such systems hold significant potential and interest for MDA, Air Force Research Lab, DARPA, and other Department of Defense (DOD) high energy lasers, as well as free space optical communication applications in both the DOD and private sector. Assume the following: - Gross pointing done externally (to this effort) with a turret / pointing flat, i.e. the focus of this topic is on very fine angle steering. - Proposed architecture must be compatible with coherent and spectral fiber beam combined laser approaches. - System will be operated on a high altitude aircraft (55-65kft), with significant size and weight restrictions. - Final system (Phase III and/or beyond) should be capable of a 1m-class primary aperture and a minimum 200kw-class laser. - Proposed system must be innovative, have very high combining efficiency and exceptional beam quality. Offerors must present a detailed understanding of how the proposed system will impact the beam quality. PHASE I: Demonstrate in Phase I through modeling, analysis, and proof-of-principle experiments of critical elements of the proposed technology that the proposed approach is viable for further investigation in Phase II. Phase I work should clearly validate the viability of the technology proposed to meet the operational environment for directed energy applications in a component critical performance demonstration. Phase I should also result in a clear technology development plan, schedule, transition risk assessment, and requirements document. PHASE II: The Phase II objective is to validate a scalable and producible technology approach that MDA users and prime contractors can transition in Phase III to their unique laser application. Validate the feasibility of the proposed concept developed in Phase I by development and demonstration of a key components brassboard and the execution of supporting laboratory/field experiments to demonstrate technology viability. Validation would include, but not be limited to, system simulations, operation in test-beds, or operation in a demonstration subsystem. The goal of the Phase II effort is to demonstrate technology viability and the offeror should have working relationships with system and payload contractors. PHASE III: In this phase, the contractor will apply the innovations demonstrated in the first two phases to one or more MDA element systems, subsystems, or components. The objective of Phase III is to demonstrate the scalability of the developed technology, transition the component technology to the MDA system integrator or payload contractor, mature it for operational insertion, and demonstrate the technology in an operational level environment. A partnership with a current or potential supplier of MDA element systems, subsystems or components is highly desirable as is interaction with OSD High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office programs. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: High power laser components have numerous commercial and other government agency applications in metal cutting, material processing, welding, remote sensing (both terrestrial and space), satellite communications, power beaming, and weather sensing. Outside of MDA, numerous other DOD applications of the technology include tracking, designation, directed energy, demilitarization of munitions, and IED destruction. The contractor is also encouraged to identify additional commercialization opportunities.
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