Northrop Grumman will develop a laser beam control system for the Air Force Research Laboratory by 2019.
Northrop Grumman Corporation will help the US Air Force mature its plans to use directed energy systems for self-protection on current and future aircraft under a contract awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Aug. 23.
As the high energy laser beam propagates through the air to a target, atmospheric turbulence degrades the quality of the beam and reduces its effectiveness, the company announced Tuesday.
The beam control system senses atmospheric disturbances that could distort the laser beam, acquires and tracks incoming targets, determines an aim point for the laser, then “shapes” and focuses the outgoing beam on the target.
Northrop Grumman is developing the SHiELD beam control system under a segment of the ATD program known as SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects, or STRAFE.
AFRL will integrate STRAFE beam control system with a laser source, and power and cooling systems developed for the SHiELD ATD.
LASER is the acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. LASER's are commonplace in bar code scanning, manufacturing and communications.