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Ground Target Irradiance Measurement


The Technology

The US Military is currently leading a series of efforts to improve the ability to test and evaluate Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) under the DETEC (Directed Energy Test and Evaluation Capability) Program. Under contract with SAIC (the Lead System Integrator for DETEC), SARA has developed the Ground Target Irradiance Measurement system (HEL GTIM) - a system capable of measuring and characterizing weapons-grade High Energy Lasers (HEL) with energy levels sufficient for lethality demonstrations. Continuous Wave (CW) HEL beams in the 1-1.6 micron (NIR) range, and from a fixed or moving HEL are characterized without interfering with the lethality function of the laser – to disable or destroy a target – and without damaging the HEL GTIM system. The HEL GTIM system features a set of rotating blades designed to periodically interrupt the HEL beam, and reflect a portion of it toward a camera. The assembly can articulate about 5 degrees of freedom to accommodate a wide range of diagnostic and realistic target scenarios. Images of the HEL beam are processed afterward to determine a variety of desired metrics, such as centroid, beam size, power in a bucket, and jitter.

The Applications

SARA’s HEL GTIM system addresses the need for a system that has the capability to measure the irradiance, irradiance distribution, and total fluence of High Energy Lasers (HELs) without significant interference with the HEL, and without being degraded or destroyed itself. Designed primarily for use during lethality tests using outdoor targets, it is capable of measuring high energy lasers platforms that are:

  • Static
  • Ground vehicle based
  • Airborne

GTIM unit in labratory
GTIM in Labratory

The Advantages

SARA’s HEL GTIM system is on the leading edge of technology, and is the only system available that can characterize weapons-grade lasers without interfering with lethality demonstrations. Some key features of this system are:

  • Self contained (only requires 220V power)
  • Minimum interference with actual targets
  • HEL source may be static, moving, land-based or airborne
  • Designed to not interfere with source target tracking
  • No degradation under high incident irradiance and fluence
  • Handles variations in laser angles of incidence
  • Data system capacity and operation supports 7 laser firings in 2 hours
  • Field deployable / transportable / user-friendly
  • Data is IRIG-B time stamped for synchronization to other data
  • Suitable for daytime or nighttime use

Similar systems can be designed and built to support

  • Indoor tests
  • Pulsed laser characterization
  • Wavelengths outside the 1-1.6 micron (NIR) range