Tactical Optical Inertial Reference Unit (OIRU)
The Air Force is exploring and developing several aircraft mounted high energy laser (HEL) systems for precision strike and self- defense missions such as the Air Force"s new HEL demonstration program, Electric Laser on a Large Aircraft (ELLA). All HEL systems require accurate pointing and precise stabilization of the laser beam to be effective. Laser systems hosted on aircraft platforms pose an additional challenge to beam stabilization efforts due to the harsh vibration environment inherent in such platforms. A key element of the stabilization system in all these systems is the optical inertial reference unit (OIRU). Applied Technology Associates (ATA) proposes a Tactical Optical Inertial Reference Unit (TIRU) that directly addresses what the Air Force itself has acknowledged, in the ELLA Briefing for Industry, as"the most significant technical risk"on a future airborne laser program Total System Jitter. ATA"s TIRU provides a stabilized optical reference for accurate beam pointing even in the harsh aircraft vibration environments by combining innovations in the following areas: 1. Advanced physical architecture / packaging configuration 2. Unique compact, low-noise, and linear-vibration insensitive ARS-15 sensors 3. Innovative compact electromagnetic actuation and control 4. Robust design specific to the harsh airborne environmental conditions BENEFIT: The addition of the ATA-designed TIRU will help reduce jitter on the propagated HEL, thereby reducing any collateral damage that could occur in precision strike missions. Successful completion of this development could be an important risk reduction effort for ELLA and various Navy programs. As such it could benefit several regions of the country. ATA"s proposed design provides multiple benefits to the AFRL: ATA offers a novel device in a compact footprint that enables a whole new class of applications. This innovation combines multiple advances in sensors, actuators, packaging and controls. The aerospace primes who are pursuing ELLA are obvious potential early adopters, though the jitter requirements of that application may require modifications to the design to reduce jitter. This would require additional Phase II enhancement funding, either from the primes or the Air Force. This could also have applications, as is, to Navy HEL programs (e.g., Laser Phalanx and Maritime Laser Demonstration programs) and other tactical aircraft HEL programs.
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Applied Technology Associates
1300 Britt SE Albuquerque, NM -
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