Adaptive Tactical Laser System Field Demonstration of Wavefront Measurement and Compensation

Period of Performance: 08/13/2012 - 11/17/2014

$1MM

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nutronics, Inc.
1851 Lefthand Cir. Ste G
Longmont, CO 80501
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Directed Energy (DE) systems offer the promise of dramatic improvements in capability for self defense and area defense systems along with an enhanced precision strike and engagement capability. Unfortunately, turbulence causes the beam to break up at the target, significantly limiting the range of DE systems and limiting their availability to benign turbulence conditions. Adaptive Optical (AO) systems offer the promise to mitigate the impact of turbulence, increasing the effective range of DE systems and improving availability. However, for nearly all military applications with non cooperative targets, if the turbulence is so severe that AO is needed, then the current state of the art in AO is no longer effective for turbulence correction. A measurement method that enables wavefront sensing and correction in Deep Turbulence is required. Nutronics has developed and demonstrated in the laboratory an innovative beam control approach for compensation in the Deep Turbulence regime: the Adaptive Tactical Laser System (ATLAS). AFRL/RDS and DARPA funded a laboratory demonstration effort that established the capability of ATLAS to effectively form a point source beacon at the target. Nutronics proposes an ATLAS field demonstration to evaluate the capability of ATLAS to accurately correct a laser beam in the Deep Turbulence regime.