Active imaging, DIRCM, EOIR CMCCM, Fiber lasers, Lasers Infrared lasers, Self protection
Mid-infrared laser sources are needed for countermeasure systems against the next generation of heat seeking missiles, as well as for active imaging and remote sensing of targets and threats. These sources must be resistant to environmental variations, and sufficiently compact and conformable to fit on a variety of platforms, from ships and large transports to helicopters and ground vehicles. SET-170 and SET-224 have explored fiber lasers as an especially suitable technology for these applications, as they offer optical confinement for robust alignment and reduced environmental sensitivity, and a geometry that simplifies thermal management. Bulk crystal lasers and quantum cascade lasers, however, continue to provide robust competition and offer their own advantages, the former in higher pulse energies, the latter in compact size and efficiency.
As we consider the future direction of research in laser technology to support military applications, it would be beneficial to have a "reality check" on what the current needs and challenges are, and which approaches in designing laser components show greatest potential for meeting them.
The objective is to determine the applicability and the technical readiness level of various infrared laser technologies; and to identify the most critical technology gaps in the area of infrared lasers, to help prioritize future laser development efforts. The scope will include both direct lasers and frequency conversion based approaches, in guided wave architectures or bulk materials, as well as semiconductor-based sources like QCLs.
End-products include Meeting proceedings; an assessment of current laser technology and its suitability for military applications; and eventually a TAP and Programme of Work for a new Task Group.