随着激光武器时代的到来，技术挑战依然存在 (Tech Challenges Remain As Era Of Laser Weapons Dawns)
As the U.S. Air Force comes within weeks of the first operational laser weapons, the Defense Department is hatching new concepts to address the power and thermal management limits of the state-of-the-art in the directed energy field.
In a largely secret dress rehearsal staged in October at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the Air Force performed another round of tests of the deploying Raytheon High Energy Laser Weapon System (HEL-WS), as well as other directed energy options, such as the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR), says Kelly Hammett, director of AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate.
“All I can say is there were multiple systems. From my reading of the reports, it looked like a very successful exercise,” says Hammett, who addressed the Association of Old Crows annual symposium Oct. 29.
西尔堡（Fort Sill）实验的目的是使武器在现实的作战环境中发挥作用。AFRL的战略发展规划和实验办公室（SDPE，尽管拼写错误，但发音为“ Speedy”）呼吁HEL-WS和THOR参与小型无人机系统（UAS）的部署。实验还展示了新的诊断工具，使AFRL测试人员能够实时了解大气对能量传导的影响。
The Fort Sill experiment was intended to put the weapons through their paces in a realistic operational environment. AFRL’s Strategic Development, Planning and Experimentation (SDPE, which, despite its spelling, is pronounced “Speedy”) office called on the HEL-WS and THOR to engage swarms of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The experiments also demonstrated new diagnostic tools, allowing AFRL testers to understand the atmosphere’s effect on energy propagation in real time.
SDPE awarded Raytheon a contract in August to deliver a “handful” of systems to the Air Force for a one-year deployment scheduled to conclude in November 2020. The HEL-WS will be used to defend Air Force bases from attacks by swarming, small UAS and cruise missiles, Hammett says. The Air Force is not releasing the location of the deployed sites for the HEL-WS.
AFRL also is grooming THOR for an operational debut. Instead of blasting a UAS with a high-energy optical beam, THOR sends powerful pulses of radio frequency energy at a target to disable its electronics. Hammett describes THOR as a second-generation directed energy weapon. It is designed to be rugged for operational duty and compact enough to be transported inside a single container loaded into a Lockheed Martin C-130. Upon unloading from the aircraft, THOR can be activated within a couple hours, or broken down and moved within the same period, he says.
Despite decades of basic research on directed energy systems, such operational capabilities have evolved fairly rapidly. The Air Force finally consolidated its strategy for developing directed energy weapons in the 2017 flight plan, Hemmett said. The document narrowed a once-fragmented research organization that attempted to address too many missions.
这条消息是Steve Trimble在Aerospace Defense & Daily Report发表文章的摘要。全文中讨论了关于2017年飞行计划的更多细节和影响这项技术的基本问题。订阅者可以在此处访问完整的文章 (英文）。