The laser equivalent of an active-array radar, generating multiple electronically steered beams for communicating, sensing, jamming and attacking, is the long-term goal of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Darpa is pushing technology in all system elements—diode arrays, power amplifiers, beam combiners and adaptive optics—to drive up efficiency and cut down size and weight so solid-state lasers can be integrated into manned and unmanned aircraft. Some advances could ...

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