The use of point-to-point lasers for navy ships
Bonk, Scott S.
Boger, Dan C.
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Currently the Navy uses microwave technology to wirelessly connect ships at sea. These systems provide approximately a 1.5Mb/s transfer rate and have some significant drawbacks. Microwave antennas provide a very large electromagnetic signature, require a large power source, and require a lot of support equipment and personnel to maintain connections. Laser technology can offer connection speeds 50 times greater than microwave, have no electromagnetic signature, use only a fraction of the space and power requirements, and require little to no personnel maintenance. Lasers offer many advantages to its microwave counterpart but it may also have some drawbacks. This paper addresses the effects inclement weather will have on range and bandwidth. Weather ranging from fog to heavy rain also is analyzed in relation to the current system. Aside from communications between ships, lasers offer other untouched tactical benefits including - enhanced communications between ships and remote controlled drones. Unmanned vehicles could provide full motion video, telemetry, atmospheric conditions, and provide an uplink for smaller water or land based terminals to the ship.
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