TITLE: Efficient Compact
Diode-Pumped High-Power Fiber Coupled Laser Modules
Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO IWS
2, Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM)
The technology within this
topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR),
22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related
material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the
Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls
dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals
(FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed,
and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s)
in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the Announcement. Offerors are advised
foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to
the technical data under US Export Control Laws.
OBJECTIVE: Develop a highly
efficient, high-power density, kilowatt-level, diode pumped fiber coupled laser
laser (HEL) systems represent a revolutionary advancement in naval warfare.
Laser weapons are often described as having an unlimited “magazine depth,”
being instantly available, and as not suffering from the issues associated with
explosive ordnance storage and handling. However, the lethal power of laser
weapons fundamentally derives from the ship’s onboard power. Furthermore, the
ship must supply cooling to the laser, in essence, shifting the combat burden
onto the ship’s auxiliary systems. As ship’s power (which also fundamentally
limits cooling capacity) is a precious resource, deployment of a laser weapon
will be greatly facilitated by optimizing the system’s efficiency. More
efficient laser technology does not so much reduce the cost of the laser weapon
itself but rather reduces the cost associated with shipboard prime power and
Targeting and control of the laser represent a trivial portion of the system’s
overall power budget. The power consumed by the system is predominantly used
to produce the desired high-power laser output. The cooling required by the
system is then directly determined by the overall power conversion efficiency.
Even though the laser weapon is highly complex, system efficiencies can be
allocated to three basic areas: 1) conversion of prime power to usable voltage
levels, 2) conversion of electrical power to light, and 3) losses in the
optical system. Prime power conversion (i.e., DC to DC and AC to DC
conversion) is an area that has been well addressed elsewhere. The losses in
the optical transmission system, which are largely constrained by system design
trade-offs, are second-order effects. The fundamental efficiency of the
individual laser module, the heart of the system, primarily determines overall
Under current laser weapons programs, the high-power laser output is achieved
by a combination of multiple diode-pumped fiber coupled modules (FCMs)
operating at a center wavelength of 976 nm. The FCM is the basic building
block of the laser system and therefore largely determines system performance
but is constrained by system-level design. A key constraint is the fiber
coupling that imposes a fiber core diameter of 225µm and a numerical aperture
(NA) of 0.22. In order to limit the number of FCMs that must be combined, the
minimum output (mode stripped) optical power is 1000W. However, higher
single-FCM output powers present an obvious advantage, provided the efficiency
can be optimized at that higher output power. Finally, maximizing optical
power density (FCM power output per unit volume in W/cm3) is an additional
objective. Even though shipboard applications are not critically sensitive to
the FCM weight, optimization of the power density makes the technology viable
for airborne applications, thereby reducing cost through commonality and
increased transition opportunities that enable economies of scale in
production. Restricting the minimum power density also serves to preclude
solutions that are overly complex or focus on improvements extraneous to the
core FCM technologies.
Although FCM technology is continually advancing, current technologies do not
exist that solve the Navy’s need. The Navy seeks development of a highly
efficient FCM technology meeting the objectives described above. Efficiency is
the overriding objective and efficiency exceeding 60% (DC to optical output at
the fiber exit) is the minimum expectation. Input voltage is system defined at
18VDC and any further power conversion required by the proposed technology
should be included in the efficiency calculation. Minimum mode stripped power
output is 1kW although obtaining peak efficiency at a higher output power is
highly desirable. Consequently, proposed solutions shall consider the
efficiency trade-space for output power up to 5kW. Power density is an
important consideration; second only to efficiency and desirable for the
reasons explained above. A power density of 1.0 W/cm3 is therefore a threshold
requirement. The intended application requires that the technology meet
shipboard storage temperature requirements of -51°C to 40°C.
PHASE I: Define and develop a
concept for a diode-pumped fiber coupled laser module as defined in the
description. Prove the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and
establish the feasibility of producing the FCM. Feasibility will be
established by some combination of initial concept design, analysis, and
modeling. The Phase I Option, if awarded, will include the initial design
specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype in Phase II.
Develop a Phase II plan.
PHASE II: Based on the Phase
I results and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), design, develop, test, and
deliver prototype FCMs for evaluation. Approximately six prototypes are
desired in order to assess stability and demonstrate suitability for optical
combining; however, the exact number should be proposed by the company based on
the projected cost of development. Demonstrate that the prototypes meet the
parameters in the description. Demonstrations will take place at a Government-
or company-provided facility. A manufacturability analysis will propose
best-practice manufacturing methods to prepare the FCM technology for Phase III
transition. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition
the technology for Navy laser systems production and potential commercial use.
PHASE III DUAL USE
APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use.
Further refine the FCM technology according to the Phase III development plan
for evaluation and testing to determine its effectiveness and reliability in an
operationally relevant environment. Perform test and validation to certify and
qualify initial production units for Navy use. The FCM should be a fully
functional and packaged sub-assembly, ready for insertion into a laser weapon
system. Produce the final product (or under license) and transition to the
Government directly through technology upgrades to the Surface Navy Laser
Weapon System (SNLWS) program or through insertion into new program baselines
in partnership with the SNLWS prime contractor.
High power laser technology has a multitude of military, industrial, and
scientific applications such as electro-optical countermeasures, materials
processing, laser cutting, and materials research. Advances resulting from
this topic have wide application in these fields.
1. Zervas, Michalis N. and
Codemard, Christophe A. “High power fiber lasers: a review.” IEEE J. Selected
Topics in Quantum Electronics, 20, September/October 2014, article sequence
number 0904123, 23 pages. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6808413/?reload=true
2. McNaught, Stuart J., et
al., “Scalable coherent combining of kilowatt amplifiers into a 2.4-kW beam.”
IEEE J. Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, 20, September/October 2014,
article sequence number 0901008, 8 pages. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6732914/
KEYWORDS: High-Energy Laser;
Laser Weapons; Fiber Coupled Module; Optical Power Density; Fiber Coupling;
** TOPIC NOTICE **
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