Anti-ship missile defense and the free electron laser
Herbert, Paul A.
Colson, William B.
Armstead, Robert L.
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In order to improve ship self-defense against sea-skimming missiles, several concepts, such as the free electron laser, high-power microwaves, and the Phalanx gun system are reviewed and evaluated in this thesis. Phalanx computer simulations show that Phalanx is an inadequate means of protection. High-power microwaves are found to damage electronics, but calculations show limitations due to diffraction and the possibility of shielding. This thesis evaluates several damage mechanisms caused by the free electron laser's ultra- short picosecond pulse. Theories and experiments predicting the laser damage from short picosecond pulses are reviewed and applied to the fel weapon design. It is found that there may be a significant advantage to the ultra-short pulse format of an FEL weapon; as a result, new experiments are planned. As MW FELs are not yet a reality, this thesis uses computer simulations to explore FEL operation for many values of the electron pulse length, peak current and cavity desynchronism in order to explain recent Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF) experimental observations of high average power.
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