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Boeing Fires Solid-state Laser  
User currently offlineZuluAviator994 From Australia, joined Mar 2008, 510 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 4 months 22 hours ago) and read 3969 times:

http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2008/q2/080603a_nr.html
"ST. LOUIS, June 03, 2008 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] fired its new thin-disk laser system repeatedly in recent tests, achieving the highest known simultaneous power, beam quality and run time for any solid-state laser to date.
In each laser firing at Boeing's facility in West Hills, Calif., the high-energy laser achieved power levels of over 25 kilowatts for multi-second durations, with a measured beam quality suitable for a tactical weapon system. The Boeing laser integrates multiple thin-disk lasers into a single system. Through these successful tests, the Boeing team has proven the concept of scalability to a 100-kilowatt-class system based on the same architecture and technology.
"Solid-state lasers will revolutionize the battlefield by giving the warfighter an ultra-precision engagement capability that can dramatically reduce collateral damage," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "These successful tests show that Boeing has made solid progress toward making this revolutionary capability a reality."
The thin-disk laser is an initiative to demonstrate that solid-state laser technologies are now ready to move out of the laboratory and into full development as weapon systems. Solid-state lasers are powered by electricity, making them highly mobile and supportable on the battlefield. The Boeing laser represents the most electrically efficient solid-state laser technology known. The system is designed to meet the rapid-fire, rapid-retargeting requirements of area-defense, anti-missile and anti-mortar tactical high-energy laser systems. It is also ideal for non-lethal, ultra-precision strike missions urgently needed by warfighters in war zones.
"This accomplishment demonstrates Boeing's commitment to advancing the state of the art in directed energy technology," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems. "These successful tests are a significant milestone toward providing reliable and supportable lasers to U.S. warfighters."
Boeing's approach incorporates a series of commercial-off-the-shelf, state-of-the-art lasers used in the automotive industry. These industrial lasers have demonstrated exceedingly high reliability, supportability and maintainability.
A high-power solid-state laser will damage, disable or destroy targets at the speed of light, with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations."

Good to see Boeing making some progress with this project Big grin


If Speed is life, Altitude is life insurance. No one has ever collided with the sky.
30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21534 posts, RR: 59
Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 22 hours ago) and read 3926 times:

No big deal, they did this in "Real Genius" 20 years ago. It makes great popcorn.

Oh, and I don't think this goes in the civil av forum.  Wink



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 4 months 15 hours ago) and read 3524 times:

Can I buy one @ Walmart yet? I'll take 3!!

User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (6 years 4 months 13 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

the future is here?

I think the most interesting application is defence against incoming missiles and mortars.
With a weapon this precise, combined with accurate tracking, it is like a laser shield.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 11 hours ago) and read 3467 times:

The next war should look pretty cool with all the planes and missles chrome plated.


Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (6 years 4 months 10 hours ago) and read 3438 times:



Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 7):
The next war should look pretty cool with all the planes and missles chrome plated.

war is never cool my friend


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 7 hours ago) and read 3393 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 8):
war is never cool my friend

If you had a comment on my obvious reference to shielding missiles with heat resistant highly reflective materials to protect against lasers, it would have been worth posting here.

If you want to preach to people you know nothing about, there are more suitable forums.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (6 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 3372 times:



Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 9):
If you had a comment on my obvious reference to shielding missiles with heat resistant highly reflective materials to protect against lasers, it would have been worth posting here.

If you want to preach to people you know nothing about, there are more suitable forums.

if you are going to comment on serious things like war like a 11 year old child, there are also more suitable forums for you.


User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3592 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (6 years 4 months 6 hours ago) and read 3351 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 6):
I think the most interesting application is defence against incoming missiles and mortars.
With a weapon this precise, combined with accurate tracking, it is like a laser shield.

Actually it is a boondoggle with little to no real military potential.

Their first objective is to replace the COIL laser in the ABL, but that is a very stupid program WRT actual implementation in a combat environment.

The laser will still have limited range due to atmospherics.

While it is good technology, the actual applications with the most potential will be industrial, not military.

FYI, the actual laser tested here is a Yb doped core YAG undoped YAG cladded thin disc laser where the discs are roughly octaginally shapped and pumped by laser diode bar arrays through the thin edges of the undoped cladding.

It lases in the near infra-red and has a very low quantum defect, since it is also pumped in the near infra-red. This allows for a very effecient energy transfer without heat build-up in the discs. The thin disc's also has a large surface to volume ratio that allows for the disappation of the residual heat.

Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 7):
The next war should look pretty cool with all the planes and missles chrome plated.

You have hit the nail on the head as far as effective countermeasures. This is why I said the program is a military boondoggle. It could end up being a very cost effective competitor to alot of industrial cutting and welding systems though.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 4 months 3 hours ago) and read 3277 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 11):
The laser will still have limited range due to atmospherics.

Adaptive optics might be good for that monster ABL but might not be too practical for smaller tactical systems. You might only have five seconds or so to acquire and destroy mortars and small missile from a land base.
Any idea how large the scaled up 100kw modules might be? 10 of them should be able to replace the 6 COIL modules and I'd guess the efficiency of the solid states would be better than the chemical ones.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (6 years 4 months 2 hours ago) and read 3259 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 8):
Actually it is a boondoggle with little to no real military potential.

why won't it be suitable as a landbased goalkeeper or phalanx? Or replace the goalkeeper and phalanx for that matter


User currently offlineMissedApproach From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 713 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3184 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 10):
replace the goalkeeper and phalanx

The problems with directed energy as a weapon is that the energy will do three things when it strikes the target- reflect, absorb, & transmit. Absorption & transmittance of energy will have the same effect in this application, but reflection is a problem, & metal reflects laser energy very well. Gloss paint does a good job of that too. Another lesser consideration is atmospheric attenuation, due to suspended dust particles & water droplets.
For the foreseeable future, projectile weapons are more predictable, reliable... and cheaper, especially against unarmoured targets like missiles & airplanes.



Can you hear me now?
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3148 times:



Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 11):
The problems with directed energy as a weapon is that the energy will do three things when it strikes the target- reflect, absorb, & transmit. Absorption & transmittance of energy will have the same effect in this application, but reflection is a problem, & metal reflects laser energy very well. Gloss paint does a good job of that too. Another lesser consideration is atmospheric attenuation, due to suspended dust particles & water droplets.
For the foreseeable future, projectile weapons are more predictable, reliable... and cheaper, especially against unarmoured targets like missiles & airplanes.

it is very hard to keep a nice finish on a projectile that is fired up-on a target (how many stealth missiles do you know for example?) Atmospheric influence will be minimal as the scenario I mentioned is at close range.


User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2353 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3137 times:
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Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 11):
The problems with directed energy as a weapon is that the energy will do three things when it strikes the target- reflect, absorb, & transmit. Absorption & transmittance of energy will have the same effect in this application, but reflection is a problem, & metal reflects laser energy very well. Gloss paint does a good job of that too.

Well, that depends a fair bit on wavelength. For example, the wavelength of the COIL laser in the ABL is well into the IR, and is very well absorbed by most metals, no matter the finish, unlike visible light wavelengths. Certain silica crystal substances (IOW some types of glass), OTOH, do reflect those wavelengths rather well.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3103 times:



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 13):
Well, that depends a fair bit on wavelength. For example, the wavelength of the COIL laser in the ABL is well into the IR, and is very well absorbed by most metals, no matter the finish, unlike visible light wavelengths. Certain silica crystal substances (IOW some types of glass), OTOH, do reflect those wavelengths rather well.

The trouble is, the further into the infrared you go, the harder it is to keep a tight focus through the atmosphere. Of course, any frequency is going to have conditions where it won't travel well.
The ABL will be mostly above the weather shooting at targets above the weather, so it shouldn't have that much to worry about. But ground based and tactical air based lasers will never be too reliable because of dust and moisture in the air.
I don't think I'd want to bet the farm on a system that was usefull 50% of the time.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3592 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3095 times:



Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 14):
I don't think I'd want to bet the farm on a system that was usefull 50% of the time.

Me either, and I think your 50% effective usefullness is waaaay toooo high.

Quoting Rwessel (Reply 13):



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 13):
Well, that depends a fair bit on wavelength. For example, the wavelength of the COIL laser in the ABL is well into the IR,

You are right that the COIL laser is in the mid-IR. The thin disc laser is very near IR at just over 1 micron.

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 12):
it is very hard to keep a nice finish on a projectile that is fired up-on a target (how many stealth missiles do you know for example?) Atmospheric influence will be minimal as the scenario I mentioned is at close range.

The system is not designed for and will never be any good for mortars or short range missles. Those types of projectiles do not have enough time of flight for even a 100KW beam to be effective, much less projectile aquisition and targeting.

Phalanx works by just throwing up a curtain of metal (bullets) that any projectile would have to fly through to reach the ship. The radar system and targeting does not have to be very accurate or timely.

The laser would have to keep the beam focussed on the exact same spot of the projectile for multiple seconds. Not easy when the projectile is approaching even at sub-sonic speeds.

I think you have been watching too many of our Hollywood movies and McGuyver episodes.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3072 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 15):
The system is not designed for and will never be any good for mortars or short range missles.

I wouldn't be too quick. You might never have a high duty cycle MW laser on the back of a jeep, but some folks are pretty serious about developing extremly short pulse, high power lasers for short range defense. With high enough power in millisecond pulses you can cause nice little explosions from target material vaporizing and wouldn't have to transfer enough energy to burn your way through.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3592 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3059 times:



Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 16):
I wouldn't be too quick. You might never have a high duty cycle MW laser on the back of a jeep, but some folks are pretty serious about developing extremly short pulse, high power lasers for short range defense. With high enough power in millisecond pulses you can cause nice little explosions from target material vaporizing and wouldn't have to transfer enough energy to burn your way through.

You would need an order of magnitude increase in power above their hoped for scaled up version of the thin disc laser's output to even have a hope. Then with the necessary targeting and tracking (which would be good business for me) as well as the beam steering challanges combined with the limited flight timeframe, kenetic options would be much more effective and cheaper.

The military brass and congress think it's a sexy program and so they fund it, but they really have very little idea of what they are funding.

I make some money off it, so I have no problem with the research, It will have good non-military applications in the long run.

BUT... there ain't no way this system will ever work well as a short range air defense system.

It is alot like the LLNL fusion program, no one ever really thought it would break even on an energy in/energy out basis, but it was sold as a program on the basis of reaching break-even (and eventually clean power generation). In actuality, it has been very useful in advancing basic laser technology in the USA and providing the DOD with modeling programs for nuke detonations without actually having to do real worlh H bomb tests.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6489 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3057 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 15):
The system is not designed for and will never be any good for mortars or short range missles. Those types of projectiles do not have enough time of flight for even a 100KW beam to be effective, much less projectile aquisition and targeting.

This is why THEL/MTHEL is a much better platform to take on exactly the role you you mentioned. It's a directed-energy weapon with a proven success rate. The only thing wrong with that platform is that it wasn't funded.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3013 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 15):
The laser would have to keep the beam focussed on the exact same spot of the projectile for multiple seconds. Not easy when the projectile is approaching even at sub-sonic speeds.

I think you have been watching too many of our Hollywood movies and McGuyver episodes.

I think I have been involved in aerospace long enough to know there are numerous examples of very accurate beam stearing. For example the laser datalink that the nuclear subs use or other space probes.

just because you have a fixed conservative mind does not mean anything. You would probably belong to the same group of people that would call the wright brothers nuts in 1900.

Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 16):
I wouldn't be too quick. You might never have a high duty cycle MW laser on the back of a jeep, but some folks are pretty serious about developing extremly short pulse, high power lasers for short range defense. With high enough power in millisecond pulses you can cause nice little explosions from target material vaporizing and wouldn't have to transfer enough energy to burn your way through.

this is indeed how it would look like, I think the Israeli's already have something similar


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3011 times:

and here it is:

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002583.html


User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3592 posts, RR: 10
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2998 times:



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 19):
I think I have been involved in aerospace long enough to know there are numerous examples of very accurate beam stearing. For example the laser datalink that the nuclear subs use or other space probes.

just because you have a fixed conservative mind does not mean anything. You would probably belong to the same group of people that would call the wright brothers nuts in 1900.

I've only worked on lasers for over 20 years and worked on Boeing's thin dics laser program as well.

The THEL is a mid IR laser. The solid state thin disc laser is near IR. Very big difference in the time on target necessary. I look at laser/material reactions every day, how about you?

Comm lasers have nothing to do with the subject at hand as they are relatively low power.

The rest of your post is not worth responding to. Go back to your McGuyver re-runs.


User currently offlineF27Friendship From Netherlands, joined Jul 2007, 1125 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2997 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 21):
I've only worked on lasers for over 20 years and worked on Boeing's thin dics laser program as well.

The THEL is a mid IR laser. The solid state thin disc laser is near IR. Very big difference in the time on target necessary. I look at laser/material reactions every day, how about you?

Comm lasers have nothing to do with the subject at hand as they are relatively low power.

The rest of your post is not worth responding to. Go back to your McGuyver re-runs.

I am not familair with lasers in specific. I am familiar with high precision pointing, navigation and communication.

So if I understand you correctly, it is a property of this particular laser type which makes it unsuitable.

Otherwise, I would like to refer to the link I posted that the idea of lasers for protection against incoming missiles or mortars is neither fiction nor fantasy and appart from the lack of understanding of specific lasers was not far fetched at all.

So let me re-phrase, if you have a laser source, powerful enough, compact enough there is ample technology out there to guide and aim that beam very accurately.

BTW, McGuyver always uses a swiss army knife, nothing fancy, so your frame of reference is a bit off.


User currently offlineNomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1871 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2993 times:



Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 21):

Last I heard THEL took three large trucks to move, and they'd hoped to get it down to one. It was good for 60 shots. Not really too practical for taking out $40 Katyusha rockets. But, like you said, funding is funding.
By the way, it's usually not worth responding to halfwits trying to pass off bits of trivia they picked up as intelligence.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3592 posts, RR: 10
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2964 times:

Quoting Nomadd22 (Reply 23):
Last I heard THEL took three large trucks to move, and they'd hoped to get it down to one. It was good for 60 shots. Not really too practical for taking out $40 Katyusha rockets. But, like you said, funding is funding.
By the way, it's usually not worth responding to halfwits trying to pass off bits of trivia they picked up as intelligence.

Actually it was 8 trucks, but they got the "mobile" version down to 3 or 4 trucks worth.
 

Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 22):
So let me re-phrase, if you have a laser source, powerful enough, compact enough there is ample technology out there to guide and aim that beam very accurately.

BTW, McGuyver always uses a swiss army knife, nothing fancy, so your frame of reference is a bit off.

Oh, I saw an episode of Mcguyver where he made a laser out of a lady's ruby ring and some aluminum foil, focussed the sun with the foil, and blew up the boulders that were blocking the cave enterance.

Lasers are good tools that can do lots of things, but this program is stupid for technical reasons.

Almost as stupid as Boeing's laser based roadside bomb detonator. A multi-million dollar system that is less reliable and less effective than a McMillan .50 cal.

Point being that we have no where near the power necessary or the pointing accuracy compact enough for even prototyping at this point. The beam steering hardware alone is truckloads and requires a virtual life support system to keep it working inconsistantly. The laser aspect.....forget about it for now, kinitic devices (like bullets) are much cheaper, controllable, effevtive, and reliable. This probably will not change for at least another 20 years. Don't believe all the press releases you read about system capabilities.

Sorry about the McGuyver comments, but I am cranky some days. I was young once too like you, and I don't mean that disparagingly. The best advice I can give you is to look at not only the technically feasible, but also consider what is economically feasible and politically feasible. Unless all 3 are present in a program, it is a dead end in the long run.

[Edited 2008-06-05 19:16:30]

[Edited 2008-06-05 19:17:05]

25 F27Friendship : thanks for your input. I know how long defence programs run and I think 20 years is actually not that far away. Considering that we will whitness it.
26 ZuluLima : Sound like the Death Star to anyone?
27 ContnlEliteCMH : A piece of advice for you in a fledgling career: it's okay to think of yourself as a visionary who possesses skills and ideas that no one else has. Y
28 F27Friendship : this discussion was already over. I don't you to tell me what I should or shouldn't do. Please keep your comments to yourself.
29 Nomadd22 : A lot of it's just part of the game. Congress is generally too short sighted for long research and development programs with payoffs in the far futur
30 Cloudy : There are stealthy missiles now. The main reason it came to aircraft much sooner is because aircraft are reusable, more expensive, sometimes carry pe
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