$5.9M Keeps Seattle’s Boeing Co. Headed to Electric Laserland
The Boeing Co. office in Canoga Park, CA received an initial $200,000 increment as part of a $5.9M cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Research and Development for Mobile Electric Laser Technology. Boeing is currently the main contractor for the Airborne Laser missile defense program, and powerful mobile lasers would be valuable in other defensive capacities as well.
As a DTIC Feb/03 budget justification form noted [PDF format]:
“This project leads the development of, and builds upon, a wide range of commercial advancements. Commercially available solid state lasers are widely used due to their low-cost, small size and weight, high reliability, and high efficiency in converting electricity to laser energy. This project preserves these attractive features while continually scaling output to higher powers and efficiencies and to military application-specific wavelengths.
This project is divided into two technology areas. The first area investigates methods to develop low-cost, scalable, high power solid state lasers. This effort builds upon a strong industrial technology base. The second area develops wavelength specific solid state lasers for military applications such as infrared countermeasures.
This project continues to yield revolutionary breakthroughs in compact, robust, and affordable laser system technology for a wide range of military applications requiring small compact laser sources. This is a long-term technology development project with both near-term and long-term payoffs. Near-term goals include developing compact, reliable infrared sources that can be used for a range of applications including night vision systems, landing zone markers, remote sensing, and covert communication systems. Longer-term goals focus on producing compact, significantly higher power sources that could be applied to military weapons-type applications including aircraft self-protection.”
Later descriptions note this research’s applicability to directed energy, weapons-class electric laser technology, as well as high energy laser technologies for airborne tactical applications, as just one set out spinoffs that could emerge.
Work will be performed in Albuquerque, NM and is expected to be complete by June 12, 2009. This was a sole source contract initiated on June 13, 2005 by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W9113M-05-C-0140).