Accession Number : ADA570475


Title :   Continued Optical Sensor Operations in a Laser Environment


Descriptive Note : Research paper


Corporate Author : AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL


Personal Author(s) : Diehl, William J


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a570475.pdf


Report Date : Oct 2012


Pagination or Media Count : 37


Abstract : The United States and other nations are developing laser (i.e., light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) applications, including high-energy lasers (HEL) and low-energy lasers (LEL). HELs will likely have military applications in ballistic missile defense (BMD), counter-air, counter-space, and counter-intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). However, HEL applications will be slow to proliferate to many potential adversaries due to their high cost and technical complexity. LELs will be developed as technological byproducts of HELs and commercial applications and will rapidly proliferate, even to resource-constrained actors, due to their low cost and reduced technical complexity. By 2030 the Air Force will field air and space vehicles that will use focal plane arrays (FPA) as optical sensors. This paper argues that these sensitive FPAs will be vulnerable to LEL attack, and as LELs proliferate, they could render the Air Force's sensing technologies ineffective. Further, the paper makes the case that the Air Force must continue to investigate the effects of lasers on FPA sensors to better understand how to protect them, and then invest in the technologies to permit continued operation of all FPA sensors in future hostile environments. To explore this thesis, the paper introduces the basic theory of lasers and FPAs. It then discusses the regimes of future Air Force sensor operations, and analyzes the factors that could facilitate denial of optical sensors using LELs. The paper then looks at the basic methods of sensor protection against laser illumination, and makes recommendations for the Air Force to retain the use of optical sensors in a proliferated LEL environment.


Descriptors :   *FOCAL PLANE ARRAYS , *LASER COUNTERMEASURES , *LOW ENERGY , *OPTICAL DETECTORS , *PROTECTION , *VULNERABILITY , DRONES , FAILURE , HIGH ENERGY LASERS , INFRARED SPECTRA , LASER APPLICATIONS , LOW COSTS , MILITARY APPLICATIONS , SATELLITE IMAGERY , TARGETING , TRACKING , ULTRAVIOLET SPECTRA , VISIBLE SPECTRA


Subject Categories : Lasers and Masers
      Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
      Optical Countermeasures
      Optical Detection and Detectors


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE