Mid-Infrared Fiber-Optic Switch for IRCM Laser Applications

Period of Performance: 07/22/2008 - 01/22/2010

$447K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Irflex Corp.
300 Ringgold Industrial Parkway
Danville, VA 24540
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC

Abstract

Current directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) systems integrate a mid-infrared laser with a pointer-tracker (P/T) head as a mated pair, comprising a single replaceable unit. The P/T head directs the laser power to the approaching threats: surface-launched and air-launched infrared-guided missiles. The protection of tactical aircrafts from infrared-guided threats requires separate DIRCM systems located around the host aircraft to cover all fields of view. Today each mid-infrared laser for DIRCM costs several hundreds of thousands of dollars, measures about 13 inches in diameter x 3 inches high, and weighs approximately 10 lbs. The electric power supply for each laser has about the same size and weight. Also each laser needs a separate cooling subsystem. The overall cost, volume and weight of current DIRCM systems required for full aircraft protection are excessively large. The proposed work will further develop a unique fiber-optic switch technology for switching multi-band high power mid-infrared laser from an input port to any of several output fibers with minimum insertion loss. Phase II effort will work on all the technical aspects required to fabricate a compact ruggedized mid-infrared (2-5 micron) fiber-optic switch suitable for DIRCM applications in a military aviation environment.