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Home » News » SBIR Award : Retrofittable Laser Protection for Weapons

SBIR Award : Retrofittable Laser Protection for Weapons

3/10/09

High-energy laser (HEL) weapons systems are still in their infancy, but with the acute need for a reliable, inexpensive missile defense, and the rapid pace at which laser technology is developing, it is anticipated that they will be widespread within ten or twenty years and perhaps sooner. Nowwell before such HEL systems have become ubiquitousis the time to begin developing countermeasures against them. In this program we propose to develop and optimize techniques to reflect the laser light away (photon blocking) and to limit thermal transport to temperature-sensitive areas (phonon blocking), with an emphasis on technology that is retrofittable to legacy weapons typical of US Air Force inventory. In Phase I we will develop and optimize these techniques using a combination of modeling and experiments, and in Phase II we will conduct demonstrations of the technology.  BENEFIT: Military benefits include enhanced survivability for missiles and other projectiles under attack by an HEL. Commercial applications include (1) sale of this technology to the commercial sector, to protect commercial aircraft against laser-based terrorist attacks; and (2) use of similar technology to improve lifetime and thrust of turbine blades by limiting thermal transport to the blades. Decreasing the conductive and radiative transport from the surface to the blades will allow higher inlet temperature without stressing blade-material temperature limitations. It will thus permit the design of engines having greatly increased specific power, lifetime and efficiency, with applications to the power-generation market, as well as the aerospace and defense market. These are multi-billion-dollar markets.

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