HIGH ENERGY LASER ON THE JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER A · PDF fileHEL variant of the JSF as the Laser...

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Transcript of HIGH ENERGY LASER ON THE JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER A · PDF fileHEL variant of the JSF as the Laser...

AIR WAR COLLEGE

AIR UNIVERSITY

HIGH ENERGY LASER ON THE JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER

A REALITY IN 2025?

by

Jeffrey A. Hausmann, Lt Col, USAF

A Research Report Submitted to the Faculty

In Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements

26 Feb 2007

hailescaText BoxDistribution A: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited

Report Documentation Page Form ApprovedOMB No. 0704-0188Public reporting burden for the collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering andmaintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information,including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, ArlingtonVA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if itdoes not display a currently valid OMB control number.

1. REPORT DATE 26 FEB 2007 2. REPORT TYPE

3. DATES COVERED 00-00-2007 to 00-00-2007

4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE High Energy Laser on the Joint Strike Fighter a Reality in 2025?

5a. CONTRACT NUMBER

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6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER

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7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) Air University,Air Command and Staff College,225 ChennaultCircle,Maxwell AFB ,AL,36112

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Report (SAR)

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49

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Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98) Prescribed by ANSI Std Z39-18

DISCLAIMER

The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author and do not reflect

the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense. In accordance

with Air Force Instruction 51-303, it is not copyrighted, but is the property of the United States

government and is not to be reproduced or published without the permission of the Air War

College Resident Studies Directorate.

ii

Contents

DISCLAIMER ....................................................................................................................II

INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................................1

SCOPE OF ISSUES RELATED TO HEL INSTALLATION ON THE JSF......................4

Assumptions ..................................................................................................................5

HEL Specifications..................................................................................................5

LSF HEL Weight, Volume, Power, and Cooling System Budget...........................6

HIGH ENERGY LASERS ..................................................................................................7

Survey of HEL Technologies ........................................................................................7

Technical Maturity and Potential of High-Energy SSLs...............................................8

Metrics for Evaluating SSLs....................................................................................8

Bulk SSLs ....................................................................................................................10

Trends ....................................................................................................................10

Fiber SSLs ...................................................................................................................11

Trends ....................................................................................................................11

Challenges .............................................................................................................12

SSL Technology Forecast Consensus..........................................................................14

POWER GENERATION...................................................................................................15

LSF Power Requirements......................................................................................15

LSF Power Generation Proposals..........................................................................15

The Future of Airborne Power Generation............................................................17

Power Generation Technology Outlook Consensus..............................................17

THERMAL MANAGEMENT ..........................................................................................19

Scope of LSF Thermal Management Problem ......................................................19

SSL Thermal Management Issues .........................................................................20

Other Thermal Management Considerations.........................................................21

Thermal Management Technology Outlook Consensus .......................................21

LASER BEAM CONTROL ..............................................................................................23

Laser Beam Control Components..........................................................................23

Lasers and the Atmosphere....................................................................................24

Adaptive Optics and Atmospheric Turbulence Correction ...................................24

Active Flow Control ..............................................................................................25

iii

Beam Control and Aero-Optics Technology Outlook Consensus.........................28

PROGRAMMATICS.........................................................................................................30

HEL and Associated Subsystems Programs..........................................................30

Time.......................................................................................................................32

Funding..................................................................................................................32

CONCLUSION AND FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION ...................34

LASER FUNDAMENTALS .............................................................................................38

BIBLIOGRAPHY..............................................................................................................39

iv

Tables

Table 1. Issues Pertaining to HEL Installation on the JSF ..................................................4

Table 2. LSF Weight, Volume, Power, Cooling System Budget ........................................6

Table 3. Issues Pertaining to HEL Installation on the JSF ................................................30

Table 4. AFRL FLTC Products Enabling LSF Development............................................31

v

Abstract

High energy lasers (HEL) promise speed-of-light engagement, precision effects, and low

collateral damage. These characteristics along with a nearly unlimited magazine make HELs

attractive for installation on a tactical platform. This paper will consider whether a HEL

equipped F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) could be fielded in 2025.

To answer this question, three topics will be explored. First, will HELs be sufficiently

technically mature to permit installation on a fighter platform? Second, will the key supporting

systems, to include power generation and storage, thermal management, and beam conditioning

and control, be sufficiently technically mature for installation on a fighter platform? Next, will

maturity of the key supporting systems occur in time to support a program to integrate a HEL on

the JSF? Finally, are the development schedules and funding for the HEL, key supporting

systems, and the JSF synchronized to support a 2025 fielding?

The research methodology includes a review of current efforts in each of the technology

areas mentioned previously. Additionally, interviews with key personnel involved with the JSF

program are used to understand the challenges associated with integrating the aforementioned

technologies on the JSF.

The research concludes that the technical maturity of HELs and their supporting systems

will be sufficiently advanced to permit fielding a HEL equipped JSF in 2025. The key issue that

may prevent this from occurring is a lack of dedicated funding, both for development of the

enabling technologies and als