Directed Energy Technology (U)

(U) The Directed Energy Technology area encompasses the development, demonstration, and transition of directed energy technologies; the determination of the susceptibility of USAF systems to similar foreign threats; and the development of protection technology to enhance the survivability of USAF systems. On-going and planned research and development progrmas will lead to advanced weapon systems using high energy lasers, high power microwaves, and other related capabilities such as high resolution optical imaging. Efforts in survivability, assessment, and protection technology involve the development of both hardening technology and the criteria for protecting USAF systems against directed energy weapons, space debris, and natural and enhanced space radiation.

(U) Within the Directed Energy Technology Area, Phillips Laboratory studies five different Thrusts. The Laser Technology Thrust develops moderate and high power laser devices. The Beam Control Technology Thrust develops highly accurate optical acquisition, tracking, and pointing technology. The Imaging Thrust develops systems provide high resolution optical imaging. The RF Weapons Technology Thrust develops moderate and high power electromagnetic weapons and countermeasures. The Space Control Technology Thrust examines the vulnerability of foreign system in support of advanced weapon development.

(U) The Laser Technology Thrust establishes the feasibility and payoff of lasers in advanced weapon, communication, illumination, and optical counter-measure applications. Development efforts continue to address the concerns of scaling to high power, good beam quality, and high efficiency, but have recently included increased emphasis on suitability for specific classes of applications and operational environments, with additional emphasis on operation in specific wavelength bands, packaging for minimum weight and volume, and affordability and reliability in real weapon system applications.

(U) The Beam Control Thrust involves the development and transition of advanced optical systems for laser propagation and high resolution imaging applications. This includes technologies for adaptive optics, highly-accurate target acquisition and tracking, precision beam pointing for aimpoint control, and high quality optical components.

(U) The Imaging Thrust involves the development and transition of multi-spectral sensing and image processing technologies for high resolution imaging applications. This thrust takes advantage of adaptive optics and target acquisition/tracking technologies developed under the Beam Control thrust to produce a compensated, stabilized image which can then be further improved with advanced imaging sensors and post-processing of the image. Advanced concepts which can reconstruct images from interferometric or speckle data are also being pursued.

(U) The RF Weapons Thrust develops and transitions high power microwave weapons technology into the AF operational inventory and protects U.S. systems against potential radio frequency (RF) weapons threats. Efforts include technology development and demonstrations of advanced high power microwaves (HPM) weapons, and development and transition of RF hardening techniques to AF Product Centers and industry.

(U) The Space Control Technology Thrust assesses the vulnerability of foreign space systems in support of advanced weapon technology development programs, and defines the hostile threat space environments in which U.S. systems will operate. The challenge is to determine the effects of directed energy, such as lasers and high power microwaves, on both foreign and U.S. space systems and then to incorporate these findings into models and computer codes which predict space systems endurability and sustainability.

Related Initiatives (U): None.

Related Categories (U):
Beam ControlBeam Control
High Power RF TechnologyHigh Power RF Weapons Technology
Imaging TechnologyImaging Technology
Laser TechnologyLaser Technology
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

Technology Master Process
This Table Is Unclassified.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 21 November 1997

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999