JED - September 2016 - 50

INTEGRATION
Integrating the laser with the pointer/tracker had its own
challenges. Ideally, the laser would be just a payload on the
pointer/tracker as it moves to the missile approach point. But
historically, lasers with enough output have not been small
enough to be mounted as a payload. Instead, the laser was
typically mounted directly to the side or base of the pointer/
tracker and optics were used to relay the beam to an output

ing technologies, there was a maturation period before lasers
got a strong foothold in IRCM systems. In terms of complexity,
it's misleading to compare laser pointers and even other military products, such as range-finders, to IRCM lasers because
those lasers emit a single line in parts of the spectrum where it
is much easier to generate the desired wavelength. Despite the
many system challenges that had to be tackled over the years,
there are now hundreds of Department of Defense aircraft with

aperture on the pointer/tracker. An alternative to this latter
approach is to use fiber-optic cable to couple the laser light
into the pointer-tracker. The fiber-optic approach has been
hampered by risks with the fiber used to couple the light. In
recent years, however, the fiber-optic technology has matured
to the point that it appears it can now be used reliably in an
IRCM system.
My mother-in-law used to comment sardonically, "Oh, boats,
they're no trouble" a nod to the vagaries of what at first seems
like the attractive proposition of owning one. In my experience, I've often felt her comment applied pretty well to IRCM
lasers, too. The Star Wars allure was always complicated by
other considerations, and, as is the case with so many promis-

laser IRCM systems, ranging from small helicopters to large
transport planes. There are also some international IRCM systems that use lasers. Israel, for example, has developed a laserbased DIRCM system that is deployed on some of the country's
commercial aircraft.
Who knows what the future holds for laser IRCM, as the
technical drive continues for higher output levels, more efficiency, and more-compact laser packages. In electronic warfare, the mythical "Klingon Cloaking Device" will continue to
be the "Holy Grail." It might not be too far-fetched to imagine
that one day an array of miniature lasers embedded in the skin
of an aircraft will radiate a "cloak" that makes the aircraft
impervious to infrared missiles. a

The Journal of Electronic Defense | September 2016

50



JED - September 2016

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

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Nothing to See (Or Hear) Here – Concealing Tactical Communications
Technology Survey: Manpack COMINT and DF Systems
The Heat is On
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - September 2016 - cover1
JED - September 2016 - cover2
JED - September 2016 - 3
JED - September 2016 - 4
JED - September 2016 - 5
JED - September 2016 - The View From Here
JED - September 2016 - 7
JED - September 2016 - insert1
JED - September 2016 - insert2
JED - September 2016 - Conferences Calendar
JED - September 2016 - 9
JED - September 2016 - Courses Calendar
JED - September 2016 - 11
JED - September 2016 - From the President
JED - September 2016 - 13
JED - September 2016 - 14
JED - September 2016 - The Monitor
JED - September 2016 - 16
JED - September 2016 - 17
JED - September 2016 - 18
JED - September 2016 - 19
JED - September 2016 - 20
JED - September 2016 - 21
JED - September 2016 - 22
JED - September 2016 - 23
JED - September 2016 - 24
JED - September 2016 - 25
JED - September 2016 - 26
JED - September 2016 - 27
JED - September 2016 - World Report
JED - September 2016 - 29
JED - September 2016 - 30
JED - September 2016 - 31
JED - September 2016 - 32
JED - September 2016 - 33
JED - September 2016 - Nothing to See (Or Hear) Here – Concealing Tactical Communications
JED - September 2016 - 35
JED - September 2016 - 36
JED - September 2016 - 37
JED - September 2016 - 38
JED - September 2016 - 39
JED - September 2016 - 40
JED - September 2016 - 41
JED - September 2016 - 42
JED - September 2016 - Technology Survey: Manpack COMINT and DF Systems
JED - September 2016 - 44
JED - September 2016 - 45
JED - September 2016 - 46
JED - September 2016 - 47
JED - September 2016 - The Heat is On
JED - September 2016 - 49
JED - September 2016 - 50
JED - September 2016 - 51
JED - September 2016 - EW 101
JED - September 2016 - 53
JED - September 2016 - AOC News
JED - September 2016 - 55
JED - September 2016 - 56
JED - September 2016 - Index of Advertisers
JED - September 2016 - JED Quick Look
JED - September 2016 - cover3
JED - September 2016 - cover4
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