Lasers are certainly changing ways that our soldiers and sailors are neutralizing their targets. It is a rapidly emerging technology sector that is allowing our armies and navies to operate more efficiently during conflicts.
These weapons are precise in their accuracy and can be adjusted for lethal or non-lethal doses. They are silent weapons which deliver rounds at the speed of light. They provide unlimited ammunition and are, in some cases, less expensive to operate compared to conventional weapons.
However, because these weapons employ multi-kilowatt laser light, the development and in-field operation of the lasers come with the same challenges that any high-powered laser application comes with, only multiplied. Thermal effects on laser system components become more of a factor when considering the short and long term performance of the laser system.
In addition, beam control must be given more of a consideration during the development of these weapons systems. Determining the most efficient way to destroy a target, while not destroying anything else in the process, is the ultimate goal.
Ophir has been developing laser performance analysis solutions and beam dump products for over 40 years. The recently development of products which handle tens and even hundreds of kilowatts of laser light has allowed for the continued development of laser-based weapons systems to be more accurate and safe.