ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., 17 Nov. 2011. Military electro-optics experts at the Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) Directed Energy Systems segment in Albuquerque, N.M., are moving ahead with a project to develop prototype high-power adaptive optics for high-energy laser weapons under terms of a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense's High Energy Laser-Joint Technology Office (HEL-JTO) in Albuquerque, N.M. The value of this contract is not being disclosed.
Adaptive optics can reduce distortion in a laser beam and increase the beam's energy on targets, Boeing officials say. Traditional adaptive optics were developed originally for astronomy telescopes to correct light distortion from wind or other turbulence.
"By minimizing the distortion of a laser beam -- much like telescopes can take the twinkle out of the stars -- we can increase the amount of energy on a specific target," explains Mike Rinn, vice president and program director at Boeing Directed Energy Systems. Boeing is developing adaptive optics for laser weapons with partner SAIC Inc. in McLean, Va.
Boeing and SAIC engineers have finished designing, building, and testing the adaptive optics system in the laboratory, and now will test the system with the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) high-energy laser program for the U.S. Army, Boeing officials say. Experts will use ultra-high speed processing and sensor technologies, a beacon illuminator, and deformable mirror.