High power optical cavity design and concept of operations for a shipboard free electron laser weapon
Fontana, Timothy S.
Coulson, William B.
Armstead, Robert L.
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A megawatt (MW)class Free Electron Laser (FEL) as a point defense weapon system may lead to a revolution in anti-ship missile defense. Deep magazine, low cost per shot, proportional engagement capability, and speed of light energy delivery provide the FEL with unmatched advantages over kinetic energy weapon systems. Before an FEL is made fleet deployable, stability, system parameter optimization, and operational utility all must be taken into account. A short Rayleigh length FEL design is being considered in order to reduce system size and mitigate resonator mirror damage. A short Rayleigh length though can lead to vibrational sensitivities which must be studied. This thesis demonstrates that utilizing currently available technology and properly defined parameters, a short Rayleigh length FEL should be able to achieve a MW of power. This thesis will also establish the viability of the FEL as a fleet deployable point defense weapon system through the development of a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) which draws from current naval warfare doctrine.
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