The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] announced last week that its new thin-disk laser system was repeatedly demonstrated laser firing at 25 kilowatt in recent tests, achieving the highest known simultaneous power, beam quality and run time for any solid-state laser to date. The Boeing laser integrates multiple thin-disk lasers into a single system. Through these successful tests, the Boeing team has proven the concept of scalability to a 100-kilowatt-class system based on the same architecture and technology.
Boeing claims its new laser’s performance, each firing ‘multi-second durations’ demonstrated measured beam quality suitable for a tactical weapon system. For these tests Boeing incorporated a series of robust commercial-off-the-shelf lasers used in the automotive industry. Solid-state lasers are powered by electricity, making them highly mobile and supportable on the battlefield. Boeing claims its laser represents the most electrically efficient solid-state laser technology known.
“Solid-state lasers will revolutionize the battlefield by giving the warfighter an ultra-precision engagement capability that can dramatically reduce collateral damage,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “These successful tests show that Boeing has made solid progress toward making this revolutionary capability a reality.”
The thin-disk laser is an initiative to demonstrate that solid-state laser technologies are now ready to move out of the laboratory and into full development as weapon systems. A high-power solid-state laser will damage, disable or destroy targets at the speed of light, with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. The system is designed to meet the rapid-fire, rapid-retargeting requirements of area-defense, anti-missile and anti-mortar tactical high-energy laser systems. It is also ideal for non-lethal, ultra-precision strike missions urgently needed by warfighters in war zones.