FEASIBILITY AND UTILITY OF AIRBORNE SOLID-STATE LASERS AGAINST GROUND ORDNANCE
Blau, Joseph A.
Cohn, Keith R.
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Explosive devices present a significant threat to civilian populations and are a severe counter-mobility obstacle for ground forces. With the proliferation of improvised explosive devices into potential U.S. military operating areas, a safer and more efficient method for eliminating the threat is required. U.S. Army forces operating at the brigade and above echelons are generally supported with a variety of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) airframes that are capable of conducting reconnaissance and surveillance. These UAVs are faster and more responsive to reports of ground-based explosive devices than explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams or route clearance patrols. If UAVs were equipped with a system capable of disarming or destroying explosive devices, the stress on EOD assets would be mitigated and the delaying effect of said explosives on ground forces would be reduced. This research explores the feasibility and utility of using a high-energy laser mounted onboard a UAV platform to defeat ground-based explosive devices. Specifically, this research defines an array of potential targets, characterizes the atmospheric effects in varied weather conditions and climates on such a laser system, and contrasts the size, weight, and power requirements of such a system with the operating capabilities of existing UAV platforms.
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