Compact Battery Power Uncooled 5 kW-Class Laser System

Navy SBIR 21.1 - Topic N211-035
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command - Mr. Dean Putnam - dean.r.putnam@navy.mil
Opens: January 14, 2021 - Closes: February 18, 2021 (12:00pm EDT)

N211-035 TITLE: Compact Battery Power Uncooled 5 kW-Class Laser System

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Directed energy

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a compact battery power, efficient uncooled kW class laser system capable of producing > 5 kW output at high atmosphere transparency wavelength.

DESCRIPTION: Compact battery power uncooled kilo-watt (kW) class high energy laser (HEL) prototype systems have been deployed in a variety of platforms as laser weapons to destroy targets and threats. However, high cooling capacity chillers have to be used to dissipate the heat generated by the laser medium and pump sources of these kW-class HEL systems. The size, weight, and power (SWaP) of a HEL system is thus deteriorated by the demand of the cooling chillers on the available SWaP, which also constrains the deployment of such kW-class HEL systems in small, airborne, or unmanned weapon platforms. The DoD has a great demand for compact and robust uncooled kW-class laser system for a variety of applications. Industry will benefit as well from the reduced SWaP requirement of the technology in applications where lasers are used to cut, weld, or ablate material. This project aims to develop kW-class HEL laser sources with improved SWaP and other specifications using innovative laser technology. The Navy is looking for a kW-level laser prototype device with following specifications to be developed; Wavelength: High atmosphere transparency; Average Power Output Threshold: 3 kW (Objective: 5 kW); HEL spectrum wavelength shall be around 1 um, laser beam quality (M2) Threshold: < 1.5); Weight Threshold: 40 lbs (Objective 20 lb); Volume Threshold: 10 inch3 (Objective < 5 inch3); Air cooled compact HEL prototyped system. At present uncooled compact battery power kW class HEL system is not commercially available.

The initial prototype compact 5 kw uncooled battery power HEL system shall be evaluated at a Navy facility to understand the HEL performance and beam quality. During this test and evaluation period Navy will also evaluate the duration of the operation and the system wavelength shifts as system temperature increase. Cycle should be 5 minutes operation at full power and 5 minutes cool down. Maximum surrounding temperature equivalent to eastern summer time (80 to 85 degrees F).

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been be implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DCSA and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for the design of the architecture for a compact ~5 kW-class HEL prototype system that does not require an active cooling system (air cooled). Additionally, the vendor will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept and power scalability of an air cooled HEL prototype system and provide the prototype design of a 5-kW prototype HEL system to NAVY. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype system in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype air cooled approximately 5kw HEL with good beam quality (M2< 2) system for testing and evaluation based on the results of Phase I at NAVY lab. The initial prototype compact 5 kw uncooled battery power HEL system shall be evaluated at Navy facility to understand the HEL performance and beam quality. During this test and evaluation period Navy will also evaluate the duration of the operation and the system wavelength shifts as system temperature increase. Optimize the design and scaling the Phase I laser concept to prototype a compact uncooled battery power laser system capable of producing > 5 kW output power at high atmosphere transparency wavelength that meets the requirements in the Description.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology to Navy use. This support is expected to be in the form of fully developing and transitioning the kW-class laser system for DoD HEL weapon systems. This technology has potential commercial transition to other applications such as industrial material processing (welding, cutting, soldering, marking, cleaning, etc.) and fundamental research.

REFERENCES:

  1. Y. Jeong, J. K. Sahu, D. N. Payne, and J. Nilsson, "Ytterbium-doped large-core fiber laser with 1.36 kW continuous-wave output power," Opt. Express 12, 6088-6092 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1364/OPEX.12.006088
  2. 2. W. Shi, Q. Fang, X. Zhu, R. A. Norwood, and N. Peyghambarian, "Fiber lasers and their applications," Appl. Opt. 53, 6554-6568 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.53.006554
  3. V. Gapontsev, D. Gapontsev, N. Platonov, and O. Shkurikhin, "2 kW CW ytterbium fiber laser with record diffraction-limited brightness," in Proceedings of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe, (Optical Society of America, 2005). https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1568286/citations#citations
  4. J. Zhang, V. Fromzel, and M. Dubinskii, "Resonantly cladding-pumped Yb-free Er-doped LMA fiber laser with record high power and efficiency," Opt. Express 19, 5574-5578 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.19.005574
  5. T. Ehrenreich, R. Leveille, I. Majid, K. Tankala, G. Rines, and P. F. Moulton, "1-kW, all-glass Tm:fiber laser", in Fiber Lasers VII: Technology, Systems, and Applications (2010) (Session 16: Late breaking news). http://www.qpeak.com/sites/psicorp.com/files/articles/PW%202010%201kW%20Tm_fiber%20laser.pdf

KEYWORDS: High energy laser; Kilo-watt (kW) -class laser; laser weapon system; size, weight, and power (SWaP); uncooled laser; Beam quality (M2).

** TOPIC NOTICE **

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