JED - April 2016 - 29

eates New Possibilities

As noted above, the growing need to
target more of the links in the threat
kill chain is prompting the DOD to develop new technologies for Air and Missile
Defense. While the Services will continue to evolve kinetic (i.e., hard-kill)
solutions, such as the Multi-Object Kill
Vehicle (MOKV) and hypervelocity projectiles, they are also broadening their
options by pursuing non-kinetic solutions to address Air and Missile Defense
As General Rossi explained, "Just
picture in your head the difference between 'destroying' and 'defeating' - the
difference between an explosion in the
air and complete destruction as compared to just confusing the threat or
blinding the threat - whatever is need-

MDA Developing Lasers for
Ballistic Missile Defense
Thanks to the experience gained from the Air Force's YAL-1 Airborne Laser
(ABL) Testbed, officials at the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have a much better
understanding of the technological challenges and the operational complexities
involved in using an airborne high-energy laser (HEL) system to intercept a ballistic missile during boost phase. With this in mind, the MDA is funding several
related technology initiatives that DOD leaders hope will lead to a complete
airborne missile defense system prototype by 2022.
One of the major initiatives of this development strategy is to develop and
demonstrate a high-energy laser that is small enough to fit on a UAV and at
the same time powerful enough to cover a wide target area. While several companies are developing potential HEL solutions for other DOD programs, MDA is
also funding development of two different laser technologies to achieve this
goal. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) is developing a
Diode-Pumped Alkali Laser (DPAL), which "scales in power by increasing the size
of a single laser gain cell," according to an MDA program description. "This approach has the benefit of simplicity of design but must address very high energy
levels within the single cell." Last year, the Lab demonstrated a DPAL testbed
with greater than 10 kW performance, "with high efficiency and excellent gain
medium thermal control." The DPAL performed more than 100 minutes of accumulated run time without degradation of any system components. This year, the
Lab plans to demonstrate a 30-kW DPAL testbed and initiate design of a 120-kW
system that is slated for testing in FY2019.
MDA's other laser project is a Fiber Combined Laser (FCL) that is being developed by MIT's Lincoln Lab (Lexington, MA). "The FCL scales in power by combining multiple individual fiber amplifiers," says an MDA program description.
"MDA's key fiber laser investments are targeted at driving the weight per kilowatt of power in the fiber amplifier system down while increasing the individual
fiber amplifier power output." This size and weight reduction is critical, because
the FCL demonstrated last year was relatively large - the "room-sized" FCL generated 44 kW of power or around 40 kg per kilowatt. In FY2017, the MDA wants
to reduce the size and weight of FCL technology to about 7 kg per kilowatt. By
FY2018, it wants to demonstrate a 50-kW system that achieves 5 kg per kilowatt.
These size and weight goals are important factors, because MDA wants to field
its airborne missile defense system on a high-altitude UAV that can loiter within
or near the edge of the battlespace for long periods. At 60,000 feet, atmospheric
jitter is less of a problem, which makes beam pointing easier to perform. But
there are few high-flying UAVs with the required payload capacity and power
generation. By way of example, one potential candidate is the RQ-4 Globalhawk,
which features a turbofan engine for power and a payload capacity of 1,400 kg.
By FY2019, MDA wants to select the best available HEL technology, either
from one of the labs or from industry, and take it forward into prototype development. The goal, according to the Agency, is to demonstrate a prototype
300 kW-class laser by FY2022. - J. Knowles

The Journal of Electronic Defense | April 2016

in lieu of deterrence-based options to
meet contingency demands. Now is the
opportunity to develop a long-term approach that addresses homeland missile
defense and regional missile defense
priorities - a holistic approach that is
more sustainable and cost effective, incorporating "left-of-launch" and other
non-kinetic means of defense."
LTG David Mann, Commander of the
US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, talked about targeting another
part of the kill chain when he spoke at
the AUSA Army Air and Missile Defense
event. He said, "...quite frankly if you
look at most of our weapon systems or
platforms out there, it really is focused
on the terminal phase of flight, whether it is THAAD-Patriot, Aegis ships or
whatever, we're kind of on the receiving end. And we have the ground-based
interceptors at Greeley and Vandenberg
that take care somewhat of the midcourse [phase]. But, how do we really
get after the boost phase? How to we really address that?"



JED - April 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - April 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
DARPA Profile: Advanced Materials
Mission Profile: Non-Kinetic Thinking Creates New Possibilities for Air and Missile Defense
Threat Monitor
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - April 2016 - cover1
JED - April 2016 - cover2
JED - April 2016 - 3
JED - April 2016 - 4
JED - April 2016 - 5
JED - April 2016 - The View From Here
JED - April 2016 - 7
JED - April 2016 - Conferences Calendar
JED - April 2016 - 9
JED - April 2016 - Courses Calendar
JED - April 2016 - 11
JED - April 2016 - From the President
JED - April 2016 - 13
JED - April 2016 - 14
JED - April 2016 - The Monitor
JED - April 2016 - 16
JED - April 2016 - 17
JED - April 2016 - 18
JED - April 2016 - 19
JED - April 2016 - 20
JED - April 2016 - 21
JED - April 2016 - 22
JED - April 2016 - World Report
JED - April 2016 - DARPA Profile: Advanced Materials
JED - April 2016 - 25
JED - April 2016 - 26
JED - April 2016 - 27
JED - April 2016 - Mission Profile: Non-Kinetic Thinking Creates New Possibilities for Air and Missile Defense
JED - April 2016 - 29
JED - April 2016 - 30
JED - April 2016 - 31
JED - April 2016 - 32
JED - April 2016 - 33
JED - April 2016 - 34
JED - April 2016 - Threat Monitor
JED - April 2016 - 36
JED - April 2016 - EW 101
JED - April 2016 - 38
JED - April 2016 - AOC News
JED - April 2016 - 40
JED - April 2016 - Index of Advertisers
JED - April 2016 - JED Quick Look
JED - April 2016 - cover3
JED - April 2016 - cover4