Azimuth to Research Ways to Protect Sensors from Directed Energy Threats
Azimuth Corp in Dayton, OH received a $50 million contract to conduct hardening and survivability research designed to protect sensors from directed energy threats. The contract is being awarded under the US Air Force’s Hardened Materials Research and Survivability Studies program, which is intended to study materials technologies, interactions, and/or applications to improve the survivability of military systems.
Air Force Research Laboratory Detachment 1 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio manages the contract (FA8650-09-D-5434).
A 2007 report by a US Defense Science Board task force identified the potential use of directed energy to disrupt sensors…
In December 2007, the US Defense Science Board Task Force on Directed Energy Weapons warned [PDF] about the US military’s growing reliance on advanced sensors and other high-technology systems that could be vulnerable to attack by directed energy weapons:
U.S. dependence on force-enabling capabilties in comand and control, information management, advanced sensors, and support systems are recognized around the world. It would be prudent to assume that future enemies intend to take on these enabling factors. In many cases current and projected systems have inherent vulnerabilities and inadequate defensive features. They are particularly susceptible to the types of directed energy systems that are believed to be feasible for a wide range of potential adversaries. It will be essential to have substantial operational experience in directed energy weapons capabilities to adequately assess threat impacts on U.S. and coalition operations.
As examples, laser systems that could disable space-based and airborne sensors – either permanently or temporarily – are available to potential adversaries to include non-state actors. Increased design attention to protection against these capabilities is needed.