Thin-disk laser system from Boeing achieves directed-energy weapons status

Aug. 16, 2013
Albuquerque, NM--A Thin Disk Laser System from Boeing exceeded required thresholds for power and beam quality during a demonstration for the DoD’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) effort.

Albuquerque, NM--A Thin Disk Laser System fromBoeing (NYSE: BA), which integrates a series of high-power industrial lasers to generate one concentrated, high-energy beam, exceeded required thresholds for power and beam quality during a demonstration for the Department of Defense's Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) effort. The high-power, solid-state thin-disk laser system output reached more than 30 kW--nearly 30% more power than RELI requirements.

A high-power, solid-state, directed-energy weapon can provide pinpoint accuracy to precisely destroy or disable a target with little to no collateral damage. Directed energy weapons such as the Thin Disk Laser system will provide military customers with precision targeting for a variety of tactical missions. "These demonstrations prove the military utility of laser systems," said Michael Rinn, Boeing Directed Energy Systems VP and program director. "In order to be truly viable as a weapons-class system, a laser must achieve high brightness while simultaneously remaining efficient at higher power. Our team has shown that we have the necessary power, the beam quality, and the efficiency to deliver such a system to the battlefield."

The demonstrations were the first time the Boeing system simultaneously achieved high beam quality at high power. Combining these two factors results in a measure of brightness, and the brightness measured by the Boeing system is among the best measured to-date by anyone in the industry.

Solid-state lasers are powered by electricity, making them mobile and supportable on the battlefield. The Boeing system incorporates a series of commercial, solid-state lasers that have proven to be extremely reliable while requiring low levels of support and maintenance.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security ( is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft and is a $33 billion business with 59,000 employees worldwide.

SOURCE: Boeing;

About the Author

Gail Overton | Senior Editor (2004-2020)

Gail has more than 30 years of engineering, marketing, product management, and editorial experience in the photonics and optical communications industry. Before joining the staff at Laser Focus World in 2004, she held many product management and product marketing roles in the fiber-optics industry, most notably at Hughes (El Segundo, CA), GTE Labs (Waltham, MA), Corning (Corning, NY), Photon Kinetics (Beaverton, OR), and Newport Corporation (Irvine, CA). During her marketing career, Gail published articles in WDM Solutions and Sensors magazine and traveled internationally to conduct product and sales training. Gail received her BS degree in physics, with an emphasis in optics, from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA in May 1986.

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