BOSTON, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology limitations currently limit laser power output, but work in the US and Europe is progressing to the point where laser-based weapons have demonstrated their viability as the underpinnings of directed energy systems. The Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service report, "Lasers Building Momentum as Viable Directed Energy Systems; High Power RF Holds Promise in Non-Lethals," details some examples of laser-based systems being developed for air defense systems, as alternative or in addition to conventional systems.
The report summarizes developments at Boeing, MBDA and Rheinmetall which are developing systems based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) fiber lasers typically used in industrial applications such as welding. Most usage cases look to using laser-based directed energy systems that will be used for air defense systems, typically supporting ranges up to around 3km, making the systems suitable for Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM), counter-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and new threat scenarios.
"After years of trying to develop futuristic systems with unrealistic performance specifications, companies working on the current batch of laser-based directed energy systems are taking a much more pragmatic approach," observed Asif Anwar, Director of the ADS service at Strategy Analytics. "Using COTS-based fiber lasers in concert with coupling techniques is allowing practical power levels that can be used for C-RAM and other air defense applications."
"Issues still remain in fielding laser-based directed energy weapons," noted Eric Higham, ADS Service Director North America. "Unlike conventional weapons, a laser beam that misses its target has the potential to impact assets in air and space via laser dazzling effects so establishing rules of engagement will be important when these systems come into operational use."
The Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense System report Lasers Building Momentum as Viable Directed Energy Systems; High Power RF Holds Promise in Non-Lethals also looks at the status of high power RF technology based systems such as the US Active Denial Technologies that use RF millimeter waves.
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SOURCE Strategy Analytics