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High Energy Laser Weapons: Tactical Employment in the Shared Battlespace

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Systems Concepts and Integration

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HighEnergy Laser Weapons, Interoperability, Protection, Standardization, Test Methodologies


NATO addresses its capability shortfall in the description of the 2008 list of Long Terms Capability Requirements (LTCRs). Directed Energy (DE) is an area which has possible application in response to the LTCRs and current Force Goals. There is no doubt that Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) will play an increasingly important role in future conflicts. Should NATO possess such a capability in the future, it will be important to assess how it could be integrated into the Force Mix, particularly with respect to interoperability and de-confliction. SCI-227 gave NATO a good picture of how and when DEW potentially could contribute to reducing or eliminating some of its capability shortfalls. There has been a long sequence of task groups on the impact of high-power microwave weapons on NATO infrastructure (defensive focus). Task groups SCI-019, SCI-132, SCI-198 and the upcoming SCI-250 form that basis. There is no similar basis for laser weapons from defensive or offensive point of view. This activity tentatively applies to the LTCRs on Active Ballistic Missile Defence, Area Access Control, Counter IED, Counter CBRN, Electro-magnetic (EM) Spectrum Denial, Land Engagement Capability, and Non-lethal Capability. It also tentatively applies to Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work (DAT POW) items on Reducing the vulnerability of large-body aircraft to Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), Protecting harbors and vessels from surface and subsurface threats, Reducing the vulnerability of helicopters to ground attack, especially rocket propelled grenades (RPG), Countering improvised explosive devices (IED), Detection, protection and defeat of CBRN weapons, Technologies to defend against terrorist mortar attack (DAMA), Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Non-lethal Capabilities.


The objective of this task group is to provide NATO with analysis tools, techniques, and critical knowledge to inform decision makers on the relevant topics needed to assess the issues (and opportunities) of operating HEL weapons on a shared battle space from both offensive and defensive points of view. Tactical scenarios will be used as a means of reference basis. The products will begin with the SCI-227 assessment and expand as necessary to address the topic fully.


A. Employment tactical scenarios B. Identification and Assessment of Risk C. Characterization of Environment D. Atmospherics impact, measurements, standard definitions E. Target Characterization Susceptibility F. Laser Weapon System Characterization G. Modeling and Simulation

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