Army’s solid-state Laser testbed undergoes trials

This beam director was used for the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser and has been reformatted to support the Solid State Laser Testbed Experiment at High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (U.S. Army photo)

This beam director was used for the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser and has been reformatted to support the Solid State Laser Testbed Experiment at High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. (U.S. Army photo)

By Jason B. Cutshaw, SMDC

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command has used a solid-state high-energy laser testbed to engage and destroy threat representative targets in tactical scenarios.

The Solid-State Laser Testbed, or SSLT, is part of an Army test designed to investigate military applications and validate the operational utility of high-energy lasers. Results from testing in April have confirmed that solid-state lasers can negate unmanned aircraft vehicles and rocket, artillery and mortar threats in flight.

“The Army-Northrop Grumman team put in a lot of work to complete these impressive demonstrations,” said Richard P. De Fatta, director of theSMDC Emerging Technology Directorate. “We still have a lot of lethality and performance data to collect for model refinement, but the success of these demonstrations represent extremely important technical milestones. These demonstration results reduce overall program and technical risk while increasing confidence in the community that we can deliver this revolutionary capability to our Soldiers.”

SSLT will be used to evaluate the capability of a high-energy solid-state laser to accomplish a variety of missions. Those results will be the basis for directing future development of solid-state lasers for use on the battlefield.

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Lethality on a Beam of Light

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD, is the result of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command research. (Photo by Eric Shindelbower)

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD, is the result of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command research. (U.S. Army photo by Eric Shindelbower)

U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command researchers explore high-energy lasers

By Charles LaMar, SMDC Technical Center

High-energy laser research has been ongoing since the 1960s. But the Army is now getting to the point where demonstration systems are shooting down mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles with high-energy lasers.

“This is a future capability for our Army,” said Keith Jadus, acting director of the lethality portfolio for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. “When you deal with what we call disruptive technology, where the capability is so divergent from how we currently do business, we are required to consider more than just the lethal impacts. We must consider the doctrinal implications on how we fight in the future. Technology such as this creates opportunities to fight a different fight, and can impact the full spectrum of warfare.”

With high-energy lasers, Jadus said there is still a lot to work out.

“We recently had some impressive demonstrations using a commercial laser and supporting beam control, power, and thermal subsystems all integrated onto a mobile military truck, yet we still need to further mature the technology,” he said. “Our laser programs are achieving promising results in the laboratory, and we are developing support subsystems to enable long run-times at these laser’s higher power levels.”

As Army researchers validate the technology, officials remain optimistic about its potential.

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD, is the culmination of the Army high-energy laser technology development and demonstration program, according to officials. It is a completely contained HEL weapon demonstrator mounted on an Army truck with a significant track record for engaging and destroying mortars.

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RDECOM demonstrates advances in Army power, energy at Pentagon

Katherine Hammack (left), assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, talks with Robert Berlin, a mechanical engineer with RDECOM's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, in the Pentagon Courtyard Nov. 14.

Katherine Hammack (left), assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, talks with Robert Berlin, a mechanical engineer with RDECOM’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, in the Pentagon Courtyard Nov. 14.

WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2013) — The U.S. Army showcased how its research and engineering centers are enabling advances in operational energy for Soldiers Nov. 14 at the Pentagon.

Subject matter experts from across the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command discussed their work in technologies that included Soldier-borne electronics, ground-vehicle fuel efficiency and sustainable base camps.

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Energizing base camps of the future

Lt. Col. Ross Poppenberger, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (left), speaks with Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, about energy-efficient Rigid Wall Camps, during the Nov. 5, 2013,

Lt. Col. Ross Poppenberger, Product Manager Force Sustainment Systems (left), speaks with Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, about energy-efficient Rigid Wall Camps, during the Nov. 5, 2013, “Base Camp Resource and Energy Efficiency Day” at the Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory, Fort Devens, Mass. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

FORT DEVENS, Mass. (Nov. 6, 2013) — Innovations meant to improve Soldiers’ quality of life during deployments — while saving lives, fuel, water and money — were on display here Nov. 5, at the Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory.

The Army Base Camp Integration Laboratory, or BCIL, hosted its second annual “Base Camp Resource and Energy Efficiency Day.” Situated on 10 acres at Fort Devens, the laboratory features two “Force Provider” 150-person base camps. One contains standard technologies; the other offers a glimpse into the Army’s energy future.

Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, Army deputy chief of staff, Logistics, were among those attending the event. They were briefed about shelters, power management, energy storage, waste disposal and waste-to-energy systems, alternative energy, micro-grids, energy-efficient structures, rigid-wall camps, and fuel-fired kitchens.

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STEM Starters: The World of Pressure

Diagram 1. Pressure in relation to airflow.

Diagram 1. Pressure in relation to airflow.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Nov. 8, 2013) — Most of us are more than accustomed to pressure, both in the scientific and human sense of the word. Many, however, do not equate the significance of pressure with everyday observations.

We all know about pressure’s relationship to weather patterns, bottle rockets, and air travel. Examples of pressure are not limited to these gaseous examples however. As you may remember from school, pressure is obtained by dividing a force by an applied area.

Example: The pressure you exert on the floor doubles as you switch from standing on two feet to one. It is much safer to peel an apple with a sharp knife rather than a dull knife because the sharp knife has a relatively smaller cutting surface area, thus increases the pressure applied to the apple per unit force. Being able to cut the apple with less force means a lower probability that one will slip with the knife.

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NSRDEC deploys energy-efficient tents for testing

A group of shelters were sent to the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility to be tested by both the Army and Air Force recently as part of the

A group of shelters were sent to the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility to be tested by both the Army and Air Force recently as part of the “Advanced, Energy-Efficient Shelter Systems for Contingency Basing and Other Applications” program. Tents were outfitted with advanced materials and other technology.

NATICK, Mass. (Oct. 29, 2013) — Wherever Soldiers go, shelters must go, too. These shelter systems must not only protect and provide comfort; they must also be as energy efficient as possible. Every time a base camp needs fuel delivered, that camp and its warfighters are exposed to vulnerabilities.

That’s why a group of shelters were sent to the Southwest Asia Area of Responsibility to be tested by both the Army and Air Force recently as part of the “Advanced, Energy-Efficient Shelter Systems for Contingency Basing and Other Applications” program.

“It’s not until you actually put it in an operational environment where you can really have a good assessment of what will work and what won’t work for the Army,” said Amy Klopotoski, contingency basing science and technology lead at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

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TARDEC, Fort Bliss to host energy rodeo

Army to host energy rodeo

DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, Mich. – The U.S. Army will hold the first-ever Renewable Energy Rodeo and Symposium June 8-9 at Fort Bliss.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s tank and automotive center and Fort Bliss are cohosting the event. Officials said it will advance energy initiatives affecting all levels of the Department of Defense, from ground vehicles to installations.

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