Army Led Solid State Laser Science & Technology Effort Achieves 100kW
March 20, 2009
- USASMDC/ARSTRAT solid state laser achieved weapon level performance in lab (100kW+)
- When weaponized, a 100kW class SSL will be able to protect the warfighter against rockets, artillery and mortar threats
- Field testing will begin in 2011; results of these tests will be the basis for directing future development of SSLs as a weapon system
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - A Joint solid state laser (SSL) Science & Technology effort executed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command has achieved weapon level (100kW+) performance in the laboratory. This accomplishment marks the first time that a SSL has achieved the level of performance required for weapon applications of interest to the Army. A 100kW laser can rapidly heat a target causing various catastrophic effects, such as exploding a warhead or airframe failure.
This device, developed by Northrop Grumman, is one of two SSL laboratory devices being developed in cooperation with the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office and other services. The second device, under development by Textron, Inc., also is expected to achieve 100kW performance this year.
The Army is planning to move a 100kW SSL laboratory device to the Army-operated High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), N.M.. This laser will then be coupled to an existing beam director to establish a SSL Testbed and begin field testing by 2011. The SSL Testbed will be utilized to test and evaluate the SSL capability, with scalable power up to a 100kW, to accomplish a variety of missions of interest to the Army. The results of these tests will be the basis for directing future development of SSLs as a weapon system.
When weaponized, a 100kW class SSL will be capable of protecting the warfighter against rockets, artillery and mortar threats and unmanned aerial systems. Other mission applications for scalable high power SSLs include stand-off negation of unexploded ordnance and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), anti-sensor applications, and precision strike with minimal collateral damage.
For more information contact John Cummings, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs,