By Courtney Howard
TUCSON, Ariz. - Ionatron Inc. has established an organization to build specialty lasers for military, aerospace, and security applications.
Ionatron’s Laser Group (ILG), to be located in St. Louis, includes engineers and technicians who understand how to develop and qualify compact, rugged, and lightweight solid-state lasers for military and aerospace missions. The organization will engineer Ionatron’s laser technologies for military customers, developing new applications for these laser technologies and carrying out other defense and aerospace laser program opportunities.
The ILG team has experience in military and spaceborne laser programs such as space-launched laser radar transmitters for several Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) experiments, the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter (MOLA) transmitter designed to map the surface of Mars, and several military laser rangefinder/target designators and electro-optic countermeasure (EOCM) transmitters.
Ionatron develops directed-energy technologies for defense applications, most notably laser-guided energy (LGE), which uses terawatt-class ultrashort-pulse lasers coupled with patented and proprietary high-voltage technologies.
The laser team will be responsible for switching Ionatron’s developmental LGE laser architectures into compact and rugged military laser hardware, and the manufacture of those laser subsystems systems for fielding.
Lasers are increasingly used for defense applications, such as targeting of conventional weapons, and remote detection and identification of targets.
Ionatron’s new laser group will pursue new military applications for its ultrashort-pulsed lasers, as well as development and production programs for other more established military laser technologies.