SPACE-BASED LASER TARGET DESIGNATORS
As described earlier, enabling systems enhance the capability of
existing systems. Because they are not adding a new capability, the
concepts should be assessed in terms of the potential improvement in
operational effectiveness. Existing enabling laser systems include
laser range finders (LRF) and laser target designators (LTD), which
have become indispensable on the modern battlefield, and laser
illuminators that augment night vision devices. The illuminators are
just entering the operational forces. In this section, the
space-based laser target designator concept is examined in more
detail as one that could be fielded rapidly.
As the military looks to the new century, precision engagement has
emerged as one of the central tenets. According to Joint Vision
2010, precision engagement actually refers to a “system of systems”
that incorporates intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
systems to locate and identify the targets, improved command and
control (C2) systems to commit forces to attack the target, enhanced
munitions systems to deliver highly accurate lethal forces against
the target, and refined battle damage assessment (BDA) technologies
to evaluate the strike and permit rapid re-engagement if
necessary.126 Thus, precision engagement is truly an operational
concept, not just a tactical manuever. The Air Force offers a strong
capability to execute this concept and has incorporated precision
engagement as one of its six core competencies.
One of the challenges facing the United States in the new era of
warfare is to rapidly project power from long distances. The US has
fewer overseas bases from which to launch sorties. Also, there are
increasing problems in obtaining basing rights and overflight
approvals from other countries on short notice. Thus, when a
situation arises where the US needs to rapidly project lethal power
against an adversary, a capability for long-range precision strike
would be invaluable.
An intriguing aspect of PGMs is the concept of nonlinear
operations.127 This term refers to the fact that a small “force” can
create an unexpectedly large “reaction”—one bomb can have much
greater lethality due to the increased accuracy and thus increase
the utility of the weapon system. For example, in the Gulf War, only
4.3 percent of the bombs dropped on the Iraqi forces were
laser-guided bombs (LGB) yet they caused about 75 percent of the
serious damage to strategic and operational targets.128 The ability
to hit a target precisely where it is most vulnerable is at the
heart of the nonlinear aspect of PGMs.
Linking precision with effectiveness is not a new concept. Every
warrior has had a pressing need for more accuracy in delivering
lethal force to the intended target. Technology has provided many
solutions, including the development of the theory of ballistics,
new weapons such as the rifle, and high-tech devices such as the
Norden bomb sight. However, the last half of the twentieth century
has seen a tremendous improvement in the precision with which lethal
force can be delivered. While 108 B-17’s dropped 648 bombs to obtain
a 96 percent chance of hitting a power plant in World War II, it
only took a single aircraft with two LGBs during the Gulf War to
achieve the same result.129
Laser target designators provide enhanced aimpoints for laser guided
weapons (LGW) to use as it guides itself to the target. The concept
of using space-based LTDs (SB-LTD) occurred in both the Laser
Mission Study130 and the New World Vistas study.131 The munitions
may be LGBs that fall under the influence of gravity or laser guided
missiles (LGM) such as the Maverick missiles that use rocket motors
to increase their range. (Some Mavericks are laser-guided; others
use other sensing techniques to guide to the target.) The
operational enhancement and the success of LGWs has been clearly
demonstrated since the first use against targets in North Vietnam
such as the Thanh Hoa and Paul Doumer bridges,132 and most recently
in the Gulf War.
All the LTDs in use are based on the Nd:YAG laser operating at 1.06
microns, a wavelength that propagates very well through the
atmosphere. The output is emitted in very short pulses on the order
of 10 nanoseconds in duration and may be encoded by a pulse code
modulation (PCM) scheme to reduce the risk of jamming or spoofing
the LGW.133 The laser light scatters off the target and the
electro-optical (EO) sensor on the weapon captures it, computes any
necessary flight path corrections, and sends the control signals to
flight surfaces to place the weapon on target. From a conceptual
point of view, the final “target” of the LTD is not the target
slated for destruction, but rather the EO sensor on the munition.
This distinction highlights the need to have the munition in the
zone of sufficient scattered radiation so it can acquire the
The technical requirements for a space-based laser designator would
be to acquire the desired target and then place the laser beam on
the target from orbit at the right time for a LGM to lock on the
beam and impact the target. The concept is best understood by
breaking it into sequential functions, as shown in the following
Figure 5. Operational
Concept for Space-Based Laser Target Designation
Acquiring the target is the first step
and typically involves a human in the loop. Due to operational
constraints of the application of deadly force, the
“man-in-the-loop” is expected to continue. Thus, an optical system
would be required with sufficient resolution to image the target and
then relay that image to an operator who is either on or near the
earth’s surface. One key advantage of the space-based systems is
that the operator does not need to be near the target zone.
The target acquisition, pointing, and tracking (APT) problem is a
particularly challenging aspect of space-based LTDs. Highly
stabilized platforms will be required. Fortunately, recent
experiments under AF Phillips Laboratory sponsorship have
successfully demonstrated a pointing system known as the Inertial
Pseudo Star Reference Unit (IPSRU) that achieved less than 40
nanoradians of total jitter.134 This is equivalent to holding a
crosshair on a target the size of a quarter (about two cm or one
inch in diameter) at a range of 500 km or 270 NM.
Once the operator identifies and locks onto the target through the
imaging system, the laser beam would be generated on the satellite.
The laser would be a medium power, Nd:YAG laser operating at 1.06
microns in a pulsed mode. The laser would likely be powered by high
efficiency diode lasers or pumped by solar energy. The output would
be appropriately coded to match the LGW. The output optics would
need to be sufficiently large to make the spot on the target fairly
small. However, since the LGW detects scattered light and tracks to
the centroid of the laser spot, the spot may need to be only a few
meters in diameter for some targets.
Using a first order calculation
based on diffraction limited propagation, a 1.06 micron beam emitted
by a one meter diameter telescope and focused on a target over a
range of about 370 km generates a spot of about one meter in
diameter.135 Even allowing for spot size growth due to the actual
optical system and propagation effects such as scintillation, a spot
of a few meters in diameter could be generated from LEO using an
output optical diameter of about one meter. A typical laser
designator has a beam divergence of about 0.5 milliradians,
generating a spot of about 4.5 meters at a range of five nautical
miles. Thus, the SB-LTD could approximate current LTD performance.
The use of precision guided munitions is the essence of the AF core
competency of precision engagement, and space-based laser target
designation has tremendous potential for enhancing this capability.
The ability to designate targets from space means any point on the
globe can be attacked using stand-off weapons released far from the
target. Further, SB-LTDs have the potential of attacking mobile
targets or providing intermediate guidance points when coupled with
laser guided missiles.
Another motivation behind increasing the stand-off range of LGWs is
the risk to human operators during the terminal phase of the PGM
delivery. Although some PGMs are autonomous, as will be discussed
later, having a “man in the loop” provides a positive control in the
use of deadly force. A look back at the Gulf War illustrates this
Cockpit video images of laser-guided bombs homing in on their
targets captivated the viewing public during the Gulf War. What the
public didn’t know was that the launch aircraft were potentially
vulnerable to enemy fighters or air defenses during that targeting
process. The aircrews had to keep the video crosshairs locked on
their targets to “illuminate” them with their laser designators
during the relatively long flight of each bomb.136
Although the illumination is typically only active during the final
seconds of the weapons delivery, the crew needs to be close the
target and thus put at risk. In the case where the designation is
coming from troops on the ground, the risk may be even greater
because they are less mobile and cannot leave the target area
A variety of technologies are crucial to the SB-LTD concept.
High-data-rate communications links are required to transmit
real-time images of the target area to the human controller who
would be based in a ground or airborne command and control center.
Moderately large (meter diameter), lightweight optics would be
required for both the imaging and the laser systems. Ultraprecise
tracking platforms would be required to permit stable imaging of the
target while the LEO satellite moves quickly overhead. Medium power
Nd:YAG systems generating over 10 joules per pulse would likely be
required, although a detailed energy analysis has not been done
here. This is not an overly challenging requirement and could be
achieved by current technology. Current military LTD lasers generate
about 160 mJ per pulse or less.
In order to implement an operationally effective SB-LTD system for
general military use, a number of expensive LEO satellites and
controller stations would be required. A system that would provide
limited capability for ultra-precise, low-risk strikes would not
require an extensive system. Also, human control of target
designation will prove challenging due to the limited target
resolution at long distances and the high speeds of the satellites.
Finally, exceptional intelligence is needed to identify where the
SPACE-BASED BATTLEFIELD ILLUMINATION
Space-based battlefield illumination is an ‘enabling system’ concept
that is at the stage where it could be rapidly developed and
fielded, improving multiple operational systems. Being able to see
targets has always been crucial to military effectiveness and a
number of electro-optical systems like NVDs and FLIRs have been
fielded to give the warfighter the ability to see targets in adverse
conditions. Further, some surveillance and reconnaissance systems
examine targets in the visible and infrared regions. Laser
illumination can augment all of these systems.
One of the revolutionary technologies used by the US military is low
light level imaging systems. Examples include the starlight scopes
and night vision devices (NVD) that use image intensifiers that
amplify visible and near infrared light (typically in the wavelength
region of 0.4 to 0.9 microns) to create an image bright enough to be
seen and FLIR systems that use cooled far infrared detectors (such
as mercury cadmium telluride (Hg:Cd:Te) detectors operating in the 8
to 12 micron region) to image the heat emitted by objects. Other
systems, such as imaging reconnaissance satellites, presumably use
very sensitive detectors to gather passively the reflected and
emitted light from the target of interest in order to create the
image. These systems have high gain to amplify the very weak EM
radiation that enters the system. There still have to be some
photons to be detected.
Using spotlights to illuminate targets was used as long ago as World
War II for detecting German aircraft on night bombing missions over
London. Recently lasers have been used as illuminators for NVD with
the advantage that the narrow wavelength of the infrared laser can
not be seen by the unaided eye, retaining the covertness desired in
night operations. Typically the laser is a gallium-arsenide (GaAs)
semiconductor laser operating in the 830 nm region. Laser
illuminators include small handheld laser pointers like the Long
Range Laser Pointer (LPL-30)137, rifle-mounted systems like the Havis M16 aiming light138 and even new systems like the GLINT
illuminator on the AC-130U gunship.139 If illuminators can be used
in these modes, why not use them from space?
The concept is to project a laser beam from orbit to flood a broad
region (the battlefield) with additional photons of the wavelength
that can be detected by the system that is being enhanced. The
concept was included in the Laser Mission Study140 and New World
Vistas141 Simply increasing the ambient light should improve detectability because the sensor will be operating in a more
efficient region of its response. Considering the two systems of
most interest to be NVDs and FLIRs, GaAs and CO2 lasers would be the
best candidates for battlefield illuminators.
Improving the ability to detect targets while reducing the
adversary’s ability to detect you has obvious military advantages.
However, whenever a system is emitting any form of EM radiation, it
risks detection if an adversary is looking in the right spectral
region. Using a secondary source, such as a space-based laser
illuminator, reduces the risk because the source is not collocated
with the friendly observer. Thus, the military enhancement of the
concept of space-based battlefield illumination has good operational
This concept relies on accurate pointing of a laser at the surface
of the earth. Thus, highly accurate ephemeris on the satellite’s
location is required, available through GPS and ground-station
updates. The IPSRU unit described earlier can provide the pointing
accuracy. The laser system needs to be powerful enough to increase
the illumination on the ground to a level that enhances imaging.
As a first order estimate of the order of magnitude power
requirements, the object is modeled as if it were emitting EM
radiation as a greybody of a certain temperature but the radiation
is actually scattering off from the object by the battlefield
illuminator. The Planck Radiation Law for a greybody is derived from
fundamental laws of physics and provides the spectral radiant
which is the emitted power per surface area of the object:
or, substituting in the value of the
constants, using wavelength in microns, and converting units so
the result is in W/cm2-mm,
Here, e is the emissivity of the object,
modeling how close to an ideal blackbody radiator the object is. It
takes values between 0 and 1. For this example, the emissivity is
set to 0.4. If the temperature of the greybody is set at 300K (27ÉC
or about 80ÉF,
which roughly correlates to the skin temperature of humans), the
spectral distribution appears as shown in Figure 6. (By considering
a typical temperature for detectable objects in a nighttime
environment, this simple model avoids discussing the specific
detectability (D*) of fielded imaging systems.)
Objects at this
temperature have a peak emission in the 8 to 12 micron ‘window’ of
good atmospheric transmission that is detected by most FLIR systems.
Integrating the emission in that spectral range, the object emits
about 5 mW/cm2. Thus, the battlefield illuminator would
have to provide approximately that fluence over the illuminated area
to make objects at background temperature stand out to FLIR systems.
Figure 6. Greybody
Exitance Curve for 300 K Object.
If we want every square centimeter to be
scattering that amount of power over the area of a football field
(roughly 30 meters by 100 meters), and assuming a homogenous
scattering surface, this equates to 150 kilowatts. Assuming a factor
of three loss in the atmosphere, we would need approximately a 450
kilowatt laser on the space platform. This is a very large laser
that might be achievable with some advances in CO2 laser technology.
It exceeds the foreseeable future scaling of semiconductor lasers,
although shifting to the shorter wavelength improves the
signal-to-noise ratio and using a smaller illumination spot would
reduce the power requirements substantially. Finally, it is
important to note that the laser need not be a coherent illuminator,
so multiple lasers, each operating incoherently with respect to the
others, could be combined as the illumination source.
The most significant technical challenge in this concept is
developing a sufficiently powerful, space-qualified laser. The
output aperture does not have to be as large because the spot size
on the ground (and thus the desired beam divergence) is not small.
For a SB-BI positioned at 200 NM, a 170 microradian divergence is
required to make a spot about 60 meters in diameter. Using the
approximate relation for divergence of f ~ l/D, the diameter of the
output beam would have to be at least 6 centimeters. Because that is
too small to take the high power output, the output beam would
likely be transmitted through a telescope that was defocused.
Operationally, a small constellation of these illumination
satellites would be required in order to give suitable coverage. The
cost of the system would be fairly high, but the command and control
systems would be less complex than the SB-LTD because the
illuminator is equivalent to a laser spotlight and should pose an
insignificant safety hazard.
MOVING CONCEPTS INTO THE FIELD
When a military conflict arises, there is no time to develop new
weapon systems. The tools that in the inventory are the ones that
must be used. As Colonel John Warden wrote, the commander must face
the fact that “everything must be built around the reality of his
forces, not on how he would like them to be.”142 The constant
challenge is how to rapidly move new warfighting technologies from
an initial concept to hardware in the field. During World War II,
new aircraft designs could reach production in a few years, under
the intense pressure of the war. The shortened ‘cycle time’ for
moving technology into the field is also illustrated by a vignette
on electronic warfare:
In the Pacific the Japanese used radar as an aid to their torpedo
bombers in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. When it was discovered that the
frequency of the Japanese radar sets was below the lowest frequency
of the high-power magnetron jammers then used to screen the American
fleet, a call for aid went back to the scientists at the laboratory
at General Electric. After a week of furious experimentation and
activity, the laboratory delivered fifty new tubes. When jamming was
again turned on, the Japanese bombers on the radar scopes could be
seen to waver, turn away, and finally turn back.143
Similar success stories can be told about the 28-day development of
GBU-28 ‘bunker buster’ bombs by AF’s Wright Laboratory during the
Persian Gulf War144 and the field tests of Saber 203 laser
illuminators by the Phillips Laboratory during the Somalia troop
withdrawals.145 In all of these cases, existing technology was put
together in new packages or altered to function in new ways and then
quickly prototyped for field units. The risk of the equipment not
functioning properly was high, but the potential payoff was worth
Today, fielding new weapon systems may take a decade or more. The
problem of transitioning technology has become more difficult as the
costs have risen significantly and the technology has become more
complex. Part of the reason is the demand to use the most
sophisticated technology available in order to give the most capable
weapons possible. The aircraft of WWII faced less intricate design
and manufacturing than today’s aircraft with multifunction CRT
displays and composite materials. Also, the electronics of today’s
weapons and communications systems use ultrahigh density integrated
circuits that may require unique design and manufacturing
techniques, and highly complicated software that may consume
hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code and take years to
design and debug.
Another reason for the long cycle time is the
demand to conduct extensive developmental and operational tests to
ensure that the new systems are performing as specified. Yet the
goal of giving the US warfighter the technology needed increases the
impetus to find faster ways to field new systems. A number of
acquisition reforms are underway within DOD and are more fully
discussed elsewhere.146 For example, the Air Force’s “Lightning Bolt
Initiative #10" is investigating ways to reduce the cycle time in
getting technology developed. The focus in this section is on
exploiting a few of the channels that can move some of the
space-based laser concepts into the field more quickly.
The current approach to developing new technology is the Air Force
Modernization Planning Process.147 It is a complicated chain that
begins by having the operational user define the requirements
through a strategy-to-task analysis, that generates a Mission Area
Assessment (MAA) that discusses the perceived threat, and a
task-to-need analysis that results in a Mission Needs Analysis (MNA)
and a Mission Area Plan (MAP), which identify technological
deficiencies in accomplishing a given mission area, such as space
support or information warfare. The operational community and the
R&D community work together on Technical Planning Integrated Process
Teams (TPIPT) where all of the participants in the development
process can discuss the deficiencies and what technologies might
overcome them. There are presently over 20 TPIPTs being managed by
the AFMC Product Centers. The Air Force description of the TPIPTs
highlights the integrated nature of the concept:
TPIPTs are responsible for identifying and addressing customer
technology needs with an optimized and integrated AFMC response. The
TPIPT serves as the primary interface between the MAJCOM and AFMC to
ensure that the MAP and the related TMP budgets and schedules are
fully integrated and mutually supporting. The TPIPTs consist of a
team of users, development planners, systems engineers, scientists,
logisticians, and test engineers that tap all AFMC organizations and
expertise to respond to customer needs. The TPIPT provides support
to the Mission Area Planning process during all phases from MAA
through development of the MAP.148
The TPIPT members are often the middle managers who have the
expertise to know what will work either operationally or technically
and the freedom to be innovative. Accessing this type of group has
been the key to generating new knowledge in Japanese companies,
which raises a “middle-up-down” path to innovation.149 A central
idea is the empowerment of these middle managers by the senior
leadership in the corporations, an issue that should be carefully
considered by senior AF leadership. Thus, the TPIPT process seems
well designed to bring together all the organizations that have a
vested interest in developing new technology to meet operational
deficiencies. Figure 7 shows the flow from user requirements to the
start of the acquisition process that provides the systems to
accomplish the missions identified at the first stage.
Figure 7. The Air Force Modernization
The TPIPTs develop the Mission Needs
Statement (MNS) or Operational Requirements Document (ORD) that then
justify the development program to be considered for the AF Program
Objective Memorandum (POM) to obtain funding and begin the
development process. Because the POM process only occurs every two
years, starting a new program can take several years, and then
completing that program a number of additional years.
The long road
to acquiring new systems is filled with challenges, and this
discussion has ignored the many levels of review that occur from the
Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) down through the
services. There are numerous problems with the current acquisition
process.151 Buying effective and reliable high-technology weapons
systems is a complicated and time-consuming if the final product is
to perform under the ultimate test of battle.
Many of the “lasers in space” concepts can be pursued through the
normal acquisition process. The technical challenges in such
concepts as power beaming, space debris clearing, and space-based
laser weapons are substantial enough that an accelerated process
would not result in fielding systems sooner than the normal process.
The TPIPTs are the right place to integrate these concepts into the
Mission Area Plans and then into the POM process. Other space-based
laser concepts, such as the higher scored concepts, would benefit
from a more rapid transition from the laboratory to the field.
Alternative approaches to ‘fast-track’ concepts into demonstrations
and then into fielded systems are discussed next.
ATD and ACTD Approaches
The Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) and Advanced Concept
Technology Demonstration (ACTD) programs were designed as
pre-acquisition activities to “develop, demonstrate, and evaluate
emerging technologies” to accelerate the normal acquisition process.152
The ATDs are specifically intended to “demonstrate the feasibility
and maturity of an emerging technology” which is appropriate for
several of the space-based laser concepts.153 The technologies are
usually at the “6.3" stage of development, meaning that they are
fairly well understood and ready for pre-prototyping. By formalizing
a technology experiment into an ATD, increased priority, better
protection of funding, and heightened visibility are achieved, at
the cost of increased paperwork to gain approval of the ATD. The
laboratories manage and execute the ATDs, which may not be tied to a
specific system concept. Coordination with appropriate TPIPTs
ensures the operational users’ full awareness of the demonstration.
Specifically, the Space-Based Battlefield Illuminator could be
developed as an ATD. A carbon dioxide laser could be integrated with
an IPSRU pointing system, a prototype control system, and a
telescope system to illuminate a location on an AF test range during
an orbital pass. A FLIR system would be used to evaluate the
performance of the SB-BI. The ground spot size would not need to be
as large as an operational system, thus decreasing the required
energy from the laser to achievable levels. Several incoherent CO2
lasers could be used and combined incoherently in the output optical
system. A variety of targets could be placed at the test range to
study the increase in visibility attained with the SB-BI. Such a
demonstration would prove the concept for multiple applications,
including aircraft FLIR systems, reconnaissance systems, and NVD
usage by ground troops.
The ACTDs are “designed to respond quickly to an urgent military
need.”154 Usually the technologies are more proven than in an ATD,
and the goal is more focused on proving the military utility of a
concept. The ACTD often leaves a limited residual capability in the
hands of the warfighter. For example, the Predator ACTD is
demonstrating the unmanned aerial vehicle concept in the Balkan
deployment.155 The ACTDs are more formally approved, with final
approval at the OSD level by the Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense
for Advanced Technology. If the concept proves itself, the
acquisition process can be greatly accelerated. The ACTD is jointly
managed by the operational command and the acquisition community.
The Space-Based Laser Target Designator is based on sufficiently
mature technology to qualify for an ACTD. The laser device could be
developed with current diode-pumped solid state Nd:YAG lasers. The
output telescope is within current capabilities, and the IPSRU
pointing system has been demonstrated. The integration of the
hardware with an adequate control system that includes
man-in-the-loop oversight of the laser firing could be achieved with
a focused effort. The high payoff of increased stand-off range is
the motivation behind pursuing the SB-LTD ACTD.
The laser would be
directed at a ground target at a test range such as White Sands
Missile Range in coordination with the release of a laser-guided
bomb from a high altitude aircraft. While the initial package could
be flown in a Space Shuttle mission, a dedicated satellite would be
more appropriate in order to leave a residual capability. The
simultaneous integration of a laser guidance package on cruise
missiles like the CALCM or TLAM would complete the SB-LTD ACTD for a
militarily significant stand-off capability.
The ATD and ACTD approaches are becoming more entrenched, and thus
more bureaucratized with documentation and approval cycles. The
senior leadership needs to guard against stifling the innovation
that has been successful in previous and current demonstrations.
Reducing oversight would increase the risk but also increase the
potential payoff for the warfighter.
“Smart Buyer” Approach
Other methods are being tried, such as being a “smart buyer” and
monitoring the private sector so that some requirements can be met
by buying commercial products off-the-shelf or bought with slight
modification. Examples include handheld GPS units for KC-135
cockpits (pending installation of permanent receivers), commercial
desktop computers, and medical technology.
Several space-based laser concepts lend themselves to the “smart
buyer” approach. The deep space altimeter has already been developed
by NASA and could be readily incorporated in AF vehicles. The laser
communication systems have attracted substantial interest from NASA
and industry and are being co-developed with the DOD. This
particular concept should be pursued more aggressively.
The concepts that use space-based, active remote sensing have been
demonstrated by NASA on their LITE shuttle mission and offers
another area for joint NASA-DOD development. The “smart buyer”
concept would drive the DOD to work closely with NASA and its
commercial partners to develop DIAL systems for military
applications. An ACTD for using DIAL systems for BDA could be the
next logical step.
In other instances, researchers are working informally with the
warfighters to build small-scale, proof-of-concept systems for the
operators’ evaluation. Concepts that prove viable can then be pushed
through the formal acquisition process more quickly. An excellent
example was the recent evaluation of laser illuminators developed by
the Phillips Laboratory’s Lasers and Imaging Directorate and
deployed with Marines in Somalia. The real-life experience gave
invaluable feedback to both the researchers who refined their design
and the operators who saw the significant potential for enhancing
their mission accomplishment.156
One possible concept that could be pursued informally is the space
track accuracy improvement. By putting a GPS-augmented, LIDAR system
on a shuttle mission and illuminating a variety of satellites,
improvements to the existing space object catalog could be
demonstrated as a side-benefit from the technology experiment, and
might convince Space Command to endorse an autonomous system of
Air Force Battlelabs
The latest effort to bring innovation into the development process
is the decision at the 1996 Fall Corona Conference to create six
“battlelabs” with the charter to “identify innovative ideas and to
measure how well those ideas contribute to the mission of the Air
Force.”157 In part, the AF battlelabs will serve similar functions
as the Army’s Battle Laboratories and the US Marines Warfighting
Lab, evaluating new technologies and concepts of operations in
operational environments and in realistic simulations.
The battlelabs will each report to an operational command. Air
Combat Command will oversee the Air Expeditionary Force Battlelab,
the Battle Management Battlelab, and the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Battlelab. The Force Protection Battlelab will work for the newly
formed Force Protection Group and the Information Warfare Battlelab
will operate under Air Intelligence Agency’s oversight. The Space
Battlelab will function under Air Force Space Command. It is this
battlelab that would be ideal for transitioning some of the “lasers
in space” concepts into reality.
The battlelabs will only have about 20 to 25 people and a limited
budget of about $3M to $5M per year. The battlelab personnel, the
operational warfighters, the SPO and research laboratory personnel,
and the existing TPIPTs must cooperate to exploit the opportunity
for innovation that the battlelabs offer. The battlelab commander’s
direct line to the MAJCOM commander should accelerate high-payoff
Because the Battlelabs are intended to be a test of the operational
value of different innovative concepts, the Space Battlelab would be
an ideal organization to advocate both the space-based laser target
designator and the space-based battlefield illuminator. The SB-LTD
concept should be tested in partnership with the Air Expeditionary
Force Battlelab. These two concepts would have substantial military
payoff if successful. Because they are based on fairly well
understood technology, that success is likely if sufficient funding
and manpower is committed to the project. Indeed, since the
battlelabs will have the ear of the four-star MAJCOM commander,
their advocacy for projects like the SB-LTD and SB-BI would be
critical for attaining successful demonstrations.
Because of the critical importance of timely, accurate BDA, another
concept that the Space Battlelab could advocate, in conjunction with
the Air Expeditionary Force and Battle Management Battlelabs, is the
use of space-based lasers for active remote sensing of target sites
immediately following an attack. The project could build on NASA’s
successful LITE project and the probe beam aimed at a controlled
target site in a military test range. Controlled releases of
effluents would validate the system prior to the bombing engagement.
Similarly, using remote sensing to determine winds over a target
area could be demonstrated with the same system before the attack to
improve the accuracy of the weapons.
These demonstrations would need to be done in close cooperation with
the Phillips Laboratory and other appropriate groups within AFMC.
The Space Battlelab’s role would be as a ‘operational integrator’ to
put together a truly integrated technology demonstration. A team of
operational users, technologists, and contractors needs to be solely
dedicated to these projects in order to be successful. One prevalent
problem in today’s acquisition arena is the overcommitment of
personnel to too many different projects, leading to insufficient
effort on any specific project.
It remains to be seen if any of these alternative approaches would
be successful for fielding lasers in space. The ATD and ACTD
processes have already produced solid results. The “smart buyer”
program seems best suited for C4I systems and support systems such
as medical technology. The informal process has worked on several
small-scale projects but faces challenges in being institutionalized
in a “rapid response SPO” so that the formal acquisition can yield
quick results. The battlelabs are coming into being during the
summer of 1997, at the same time as the four AF laboratories are
being merged into one ‘megalab’ called the Air Force Research
Laboratory. The pressure to be innovative continues, and all of
these schemes offer potential for success.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The merging of the maturing laser technology with the unique
environment of space offers substantial opportunities to improve the
capability of the warfighter. A wide range of concepts has been
discussed in this report based primarily on recent strategic
planning studies. A functionally oriented taxonomy grouped the
concepts to better match the warfighter’s taxonomy. A scoring
process allowed a rough sorting of the concepts that highlighted
several that are poised for rapid implementation. A number of
different mechanisms exist for moving these concepts from the
drawing board to the hands of the operational forces. The various
agencies involved must now make it happen.
The functional taxonomy sorted the concepts into four major
categories: enabling systems, information-gathering systems,
information-relaying systems and energy delivery systems. Equally
important, this taxonomy relates directly to the warfighter’s
taxonomy of aerospace control, force application, force enhancement,
and force support, so that the various concepts can be included in
the appropriate Mission Area Plans. The new AF core competencies
also are well supported by developing space-based laser systems.
Based on this report’s evaluation, the most attractive concepts are
laser communication systems, laser remote sensing systems for
applications such as BDA, weather monitoring and environmental
measurements, space-based laser target designators, space-based
battlefield illumination and several variants of laser
instrumentation for spacecraft. The feasibility of lasers for the
ASAT mission, both from the ground and from space, is maturing and
systems could be deployed if sufficient priority and resources were
devoted to this mission and if international treaties did not
prevent it. The vulnerability of currently fielded satellites is
higher than other target sets, making this laser weapon application
more near-term than other missions, such as BMD or counter-air.
The DOD and industrial laboratories must develop a number of key
technologies to bring the concepts to fruition. More powerful and
efficient lasers with better beam characteristics, such as
wavelength tunability and improved temporal modulation, are central
to concepts such as the active remote sensing and weather
characterization. Engineers must integrate advanced acquisition,
pointing and tracking systems with lasers to develop a number of
applications, such as the SB-LTD and HEL weapons. Also, highly
automated command and control systems are needed, with on-board data
fusion offering the advantage of reducing data rates, crucial to the
success of several concepts like remote sensing and laser target
The best operational concepts are those that increase the
situational awareness of the warfighter and the ability to direct
force against intended targets. The remote sensing concepts and
laser communication systems aid the situational awareness, while the
SB-LTD, SB-BI and remote sensing of wind speed aid the second
purpose. While speed-of-light weapons would be ideal for the
emerging “if you can be seen, you can be killed” warfare of the next
century, the space-based laser technology is still many years away
from effectively achieving that goal, except for limited
applications. Ground-based weapons for missile defense and ASAT
operations could be fielded sooner and the Airborne Laser aircraft
(having even received the AF designation of YAL-1A) should put
photons on target early in the next decade. Thus, the operational
enhancement of lasers in space is firmly established.
In particular, laser communication systems and laser remote sensing
systems have already been demonstrated and should be aggressively
integrated into next generation spacecraft via ACTD and “smart
buyer” approaches. The SB-BI concept is well suited for a ATD
experiment on a future Space Shuttle mission. The SB-LTD concept
would make an excellent ACTD and a high payoff project for the newly
formed Space Battlelab. The requisite subsystems for these
demonstrations either exist or are within reach. What is required is
some effort to develop the concepts into a viable program plan and
market it. The Space Battlelab should be actively engaged with one
or two space-based laser concepts as quick-payoff items to
demonstrate relevant innovation.
Improved coordination and contact within the R&D community and
between the R&D and operational organizations are critical for
efficiently moving forward on lasers in space. The AF and NASA are
both developing space-based laser concepts, and, in some (but not
all) cases, are working on coordinated projects. However, there
would be great value in a periodic workshop of DOD and NASA program
managers who are working with space-based laser systems to discuss
results and problems. Such conferences should be sponsored by the
major organizations like the Phillips Laboratory and NASA Langley
rather than arising out of the working level. Similarly, the
communication between the R&D community and the operational users
should be improved by regular conferences where the focus is on
workshops and group discussions, instead of lengthy, one-sided
presentations in darkened rooms.
The opportunity is at hand to develop and deploy lasers in space to
meet a variety of the warfighter’s needs. Diligence, commitment and
vision are needed to make this opportunity a reality.
ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS
The following acronyms and terms are defined for the convenience of
mm microns, 0.000001 or 10-6
ABL Airborne Laser
ABM Anti-Ballistic Missile
ACSC Air Command and Staff
ACTD Advanced Concept Technology
AFMC Air Force Materiel Command
AFSPC Air Force Space Command
ALI Alpha/LAMP Integration
ALL Airborne Laser Laboratory, a
modified C-135 with a large CO2 laser
AM Amplitude Modulation
APT Acquisition, Pointing and
AU Air University
AWACS Airborne Warning and
AWC Air War College
BDA Battle Damage Assessment
BMD Ballistic Missile Defense
BMDO Ballistic Missile Defense
C2 Command and Control
C4I Command, Control,
Communications, Computers and Intelligence
CALCM Conventional Air-Launched
CCD Charge Coupled Device
COIL Chemical Oxygen Iodine
CO2 Carbon Dioxide
CONUS Continental United States
CPB Charged Particle Beam
CSAF Chief of Staff, United
States Air Force
DEW Directed Energy Weapon
DF Deuterium Fluoride
DIAL Differential Absorption
DOD Department of Defense
DOE Department of Energy
DMSP Defense Meteorological
DSP Defense Support Program
DUSD(Space) Deputy Under
Secretary of Defense for Space
FLIR Forward Looking Infrared
FM Frequency Modulation
GaAs Gallium Arsenide
GBL Ground Based Laser (usually
referring to a weapon class device)
GEO Geosynchronous Earth Orbit
GPOW Global Precision Optical
GPS Global Positioning System
HEL High-energy Laser
HF Hydrogen Fluoride
HPM High Power Microwave
ICBM Intercontinental Ballistic
IFF Identification Friend or Foe
IPSRU Inertial Pseudo Star
IRCM Infrared Countermeasures
ITW/AA Integrated Tactical
JROC Joint Requirements
LADAR Laser Detection and
LAMP Large Advanced Mirror
LANTIRN Low Altitude Navigation
and Targeting Infrared System for Night Laser Light
Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation
LEO Low Earth Orbit
LGB Laser Guided Bomb
LGM Laser Guided Missile
LGW Laser Guided Weapon
LIDAR Light Detection and
LITE Laser In-space Technology
LMS Laser Mission Study
LODE Large Optics Demonstration
LPD Low Probability of Detection
LPI Low Probability of Intercept
LRF Laser Range Finder
LTD Laser Target Designator
MAA Mission Area Assessment
MAP Mission Area Plan
MEO Middle Earth Orbit
MILES Multiple Integrated Laser
MIRACL Mid-Infrared Advanced
MNA Mission Needs Analysis
MNS Mission Needs Statement
MOOTW Military Operations Other
MOPA Master Oscillator - Power
MSI Multi-Spectral Imaging
NASA National Aeronautics and
NM nautical miles (equal to 1852
nm nanometers (10-9 m)
NVD Night Vision Devices
ORD Operational Requirements
PAVE Precision Avionics
PCM Pulse Code Modulation
PGM Precision Guided Munitions
PME Professional Military
POM Program Objective Memorandum
PSYOP Psychological Operations
R&D Research and Development
RADAR Radio Detection and
SAB Scientific Advisory Board
SBL Space Based Laser (usually
referring to a weapon class device)
SB-BI Space-Based Battlefield
SB-LTD Space-Based Laser Target
SDI Strategic Defense Initiative
SDIO Strategic Defense
SNR Signal to Noise Ratio
SOR Starfire Optical Range,
located at Kirtland AFB, NM
TACAN Tactical Air Navigation
TEL Transporter Erector Launcher
TLAM Tomahawk Land-Attack
TMD Theater Missile Defense
TMP Technology Master Process
TPIPT Technical Planning
Integrated Product Team
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,
a.k.a. Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle
URL Uniform Resource Locator
(addresses for World Wide Web sites)
USAF United States Air Force
VOR Very High Frequency
laser. Any of several devices
that convert incident electromagnetic radiation of mixed
frequencies to one or more discrete frequencies of highly
amplified and coherent visible radiation.
electromagnetic radiation having a wavelength in the approximate
range from one millimeter to one meter, the region between
infrared and shortwave radio wavelengths.
radar. A method of detecting
distant objects and determining their position, velocity, or
other characteristics by analysis of very high frequency radio
waves reflected from their surfaces.
satellite. Any object,
manmade or natural, that orbits around another more massive body
due to the attraction of gravity.
1. General Ronald R. Fogleman,
“Strategic Vision and Core Competencies,” Speech to Air Force
Association Symposium, Los Angeles, CA, 18 October 96.
2. William P. Snyder, “Strategy: Defining It, Understanding It,
and Making It,” Air War College Strategy, Doctrine and Air Power
Reader, Vol 1, 1997, 1.
3. A comprehensive treatment of space, including history of the
early space program, a discussion of space law, and descriptions
of military space systems, is contained in the two volume Space
Handbook, by Major Michael J. Muolo, Air University Report
AU-18, Air University Press, December 1993. The second volume
contains useful background information on the space environment,
orbital dynamics, launch systems and directed energy systems
4. A number of articles on Corona have recently been published,
including Stuart F. Brown, “America’s First Eyes in Space,”
Popular Science, February, 1996, 42-47; F. Dow Smith, “The Eyes
of Corona,” Optics and Photonics News, October 1995, 34-39; Seth
Shulman, “Code Name: Corona,” Technology Review, October 1996,
22-32; Dino A. Brugioni, “The Art and Science of
Photoreconnaissance,” Scientific American, March 1996, 78-85.
5. Ralph K. Bennett, “Defenseless Against Missile Terror,”
Reader’s Digest, October 1996, 102-106.
6. William M. Arkin, “Vienna meeting sets ban on blinding laser
weapons,” Laser Focus World, December 1995, 62-64.
7. The author has a PhD in laser optics and has spent the past
eighteen years involved with laser applications in the US Air
Force. Much of this report’s discussion on the technical aspects
of lasers is based on this experience with supporting references
8. “Air Force awards attack laser contract,” Air Force News
Service release, 13 November 1996.
9. Air War - Vietnam (New York: ARNO Press, 1978), 79-83.
10. Kenneth A. Myers and Job G. Tockston, “Real Tenets of
Military Space Doctrine,” Airpower Journal, Winter 1988, 54-68.
11. Air Force Space Command Overview, “Where We Operate,”
Guardian, Special Edition, 5.
12. Myers and Tockston, 59.
13. Major Michael J. Muolo, Space Handbook, Vol 2, Air
University Report AU-18, Air University Press, December 1993,
14. Myers and Tockston, 59.
15. Because there is some matter even in deep space, there is
absorption and scattering of the EM radiation that depends on
the wavelength. Astronomical spectroscopy of gaseous nebula
depends on these effects.
16. Muolo, Volume 2, 13.
17. Muolo, Volume 2, 14.
18. Stuart F. Brown, “Reusable Rocket Ships: New Low-Cost Rides
to Space,” Popular Science, February 1994, 49-55.
19. Lt Col John R. London III, LEO on the Cheap, Research Report
No. AU-ARI-93-8, Air University Press, October 1994.
20. Suzann Chapman, “Space Junk,” Air Force Magazine, November
21. James Trainor, “Non-Nuclear Anti-Satellite Systems in the
Making,” Missiles and Rockets, 11 May 1964, 12-13.
22. Philip J. Klass, “Anti-Satellite Laser Use Suspected,”
Aviation Week and Space Technology, 8 December 1975, 12-13.
23. David C. Morrison, “Scientists Say ASAT Verification Is
Possible,” Lasers and Optronics, August 1989, 15.
24. Jeff Hecht, Laser Handbook, second edition (New York:
McGraw-Hill, Inc, 1992).
* A milliradian is a small angle, equal to about 0.057 degrees.
A small laser beam with a one milliradian divergence would
expand to about one meter in diameter after traveling a
25. Ibid., 425-466.
26. “American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers,” ANSI
Z136.1-1993 (Orlando, FL: Laser Institute of America, 1993) 3.
27. “Reagan-Era Laser Facility Seeks Commercial Users,” Aviation
Week and Space Technology, 13 June 1994, 52-53.
28. “Laser Safety” course notes, Engineering Technology
Institute, 30 July 1992, 18.
29. New World Vistas, AF Scientific Advisory Board, December
1995, Directed Energy volume, 24.
30. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, viii.
31. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, viii. The
flexibility of a variable output power is also discussed in the
AF 2025 study, as cited in John A. Tirpak, “Air Force 2025,” Air
Force Magazine, December 1995, 24.
32. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, viii.
* Here, efficiency is defined as output laser power divided by
required input power; thus chemical lasers can have a
theoretical efficiency approaching infinity because the energy
comes from the latent energy of a chemical reaction.
33. Hecht, 190.
34. Private discussions with Lt Col Marc Hallada, Laser Devices
Division Chief, Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, NM on 19
35. The author spent over three years leading the Air Force’s
laser biophysics research program and holds the highest level of
US Navy certification in laser safety. The comments in this
section are based on this experience.
36. Ray Nelson, “Reinventing the telescope,” Popular Science,
January 1995, 57.
37. This is strictly true for any EM beam that has finite
transverse extent, as all real beams must.
39. Ibid., 3.
40. Ibid., 3.
41. Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force, Air
Force Manual 1-1, Volume 1, March, 1992, 7.
42. Ibid., 7.
43. Muolo, Volume 1, chapter 3, 73-116.
44. Rett Benedict et al., Final Report of the Laser Missions
Study, PL-TR-93-1044, July 1994, 1. The LMS technical report is
unclassified but has limited distribution to US government
agencies and their contractors. The data discussed within this
present report has been reviewed by Phillips Laboratory and
approved for unlimited distribution.
45. Benedict et al., 2.
46. Benedict et al., 6.
47. New World Vistas, Summary volume, 3.
48. New World Vistas, Summary volume, 68. This reorganization is
underway, with the formal reorganization of the AF R&D
laboratories to be completed by the end of FY97.
49. Spacecast 2020, Air University Report, Executive Summary, 22
June 1994, 1. The report consists of a number of volumes and
white papers, some of which are classified. The Air University
home page has a section that details Spacecast 2020 as much as
possible, and includes the unclassified portions in MS Word and
Adobe Acrobat files that can be downloaded. The central URL is “www.au.af.mil”.
50. Air Force 2025, Air University Report, Executive Summary,
December 1996, 2.
51. John A. Tirpak, “Air Force 2025,” Air Force Magazine,
December 1996, 22.
52. George E. Sevaston and Jack F. Wade, ed., Space Guidance,
Control, and Tracking, SPIE Proceedings Vol 1949, 1993. The
conference was held in Orlando, FL between 11 and 16 April 1993.
The abstracts for many of the papers
presented at the conference can be found at “www.spie.org/web/abstracts/1900/1949.html”.
53. Benedict, 47.
54. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, x, 29.
55. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, v, 30.
56. Laser Mission Study, 47-48.
57. Laser Mission Study, 47.
58. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, x.
59. Laser Mission Study, 47.
60. Timothy D. Cole, “Laser altimeter designed for deep-space
operation,” Laser Focus World, September 1996, 77-86.
61. Laser Mission Study, 47.
62. Trudy E. Bell, “Remote Sensing,” IEEE Spectrum, March 1995,
63. Ibid., 25.
64. Ibid., 26.
65. Carlo Kopp, Air Warfare Applications of Laser Remote
Sensing, Royal Australian Air Force Air Power Studies Centre No.
33, June 1995.
66. Norman P. Barnes, “Lidar systems shed light on environmental
studies,” Laser Focus World, April 1995, 87-94.
67. David Winker, “LIDAR in Space: The View From Afar,”
Photonics Spectra, June 1995, 102-103.
68. Stephen G. Anderson, “Space LIDAR Shows California Haze,”
Laser Focus World, September 1995, 32, 34.
69. This graphic was obtained from URL “arbs8.larc.nasa.gov/LITE/lite_cartoon.gif”
on 3 Dec 96.
70. Laser Mission Study, 47.
71. New World Vistas, Space Technology volume, 9.
72. New World Vistas, Sensors volume, x, 30, 33, 36, 87-89.
73. New World Vistas, Space Technology volume, 48.
74. New World Vistas, Sensors volume, 88-89.
75. Laser Mission Study, 53.
76. Ibid., 90.
77. New World Vistas, Sensors volume, 88.
78. New World Vistas, Space Technology volume, 48.
79. Norman P. Barnes, “Lidar systems shed light on environmental
studies,” Laser Focus World, April 1995, 87-94.
80. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 20.
81. Laser Mission Study, 54.
82. New World Vistas, Space Technology volume, 9.
83. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 11.
* A corner cube is a set of mirrors arranged like the inside
corner of a box, having the useful property of sending any
incident laser beam directly back on itself. The “cat’s eye” has
similar properties through the use of multiple, small scattering
84. Regis J. Bates, Wireless Networked Communications (New York:
McGraw-Hill, Inc, 1994), Chapter 3.
85. Laser Mission Study, 47, 51-52; New World Vistas, Space
Technology volume, 55, 57; Information Applications volume,
39-40; Air Force 2025, White Paper Summaries, 12; “SPACENET:
On-Orbit Support in 2025,” Air Force 2025 White Paper, 17-19.
86. “Optical Space Communications Cross Links Connect
Satellites,” Signal, April 1994, 37; “Laser Communications In
Space May Soon Be A Reality,” Phillips Laboratory Press Release
No. 96-4, 31 January 1996. The press release is available on the
Internet at <www.plk.af.mil/PLhome/PA/RELEASES/96-4.html>;
“US Air Force, Utah State University to Make Cheaper Satellite
Communications,” Photonics Spectra, December 1996, 44; Kenneth
and Michael Turner, “Intersatellite
Communications: A Technology Assessment,” downloaded on 14
November 1996 from the Internet at URL
“Advanced Space Laser Communication Systems,” “First Generation
Space Laser Communication Systems” and “Submarine Laser
Communication System,” McDonnell Douglas Laser Systems pamphlet,
1992, 6-9, 11.
87. McDonnell Douglas Laser Systems pamphlet, 1992, 9, 11.
88. Scott Bloom and Eric Korevaar, “Fiber-Free: Laser
Communications Soar to ‘Unheard of’ Heights,” Photonics Spectra,
February 1997, 115-120.
89. New World Vistas, Information Applications volume, 39.
90. “SPACENET: On-Orbit Support in 2025,” Air Force 2025 White
91. Laser Mission Study, 47,54-55, 94-95.
92. This concept was described during a private discussion with
Colonel Scott Britten who developed the concept while working on
a Masters degree in astronautical engineering at Massachusetts
Institute of Technology in 1976-1977.
93. Gregory Canavan, David Thompson, and Ivan Bekey,
“Distributed Space Systems,” New World Vistas, Space
Applications volume, 123-145.
94. Spacecast 2020, Operational Analysis volume, 36.
95. Unpublished report and briefing, Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, c. 1993-1994.
96. Laser Mission Study, 47.
97. Muolo, Volume 2, 140.
98. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 13.
99. “Special Studies Program: Laser Propulsion,” downloaded from
www-phys.llnl.gov/clementine/ATP/Laser.html on 23 Feb
100. “Optical Communications and Power Beaming to Spacecraft,”
Phillips Laboratory Success Story, 30 Apr 96, downloaded from
23 Feb 97.
102. Muolo, Volume 2, 147.
103. Laser Mission Study, 47; New World Vistas, Directed Energy
volume, 13-15; Space Technology volume, 30.
104. New World Vistas, Space Technology volume, 30.
105. Air Force 2025, White Paper Summaries, 8.
106. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, xii-xiii, 20-21.
107. Neil Griff and Douglas Kline, “Space Based Chemical Lasers
for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD),” Proceedings of the “Lasers
‘87" Conference in Reno, Nevada, 205-217.
108. Vincent T. Kiernan, “The laser-weapon race is on,” Laser
Focus World, December 1996, 48, 51.
109. Crockett L. Grabbe, “Physics of a ballistic missile
defense: The chemical laser boost-phase defense,” American
Journal of Physics, 56(1), January 1988, 32-36.
110. Kosta Tsipis, “Laser Weapons,” Scientific American,
December 1981, 51-57.
* One of the more extensive assessments of directed energy
weapons, including SBLs, was conducted by the American Physical
Society and reported in a special supplement of Reviews of
Modern Physics that is over 200 pages in length. (“Science and
Technology of Directed Energy Weapons”, American Physical
Society Study, Reviews of Modern Physics, Volume 59, Part II,
111. Jeff Hecht, Beam Weapons (New York: Plenum Press, 1984);
Major General Bengt Anderberg and Myron Wolbarsht, Laser
Weapons: The Dawn of a New Military Age (New York: Plenum Press,
1992); Robert W. Seidel, “How the Military Responded to the
Laser,” Physics Today, October 1988, 36-43.
112 .Joseph C. Anselmo, “New Funding Spurs Space Laser Efforts,”
Aviation Week and Space Technology, 14 October 1996, 67.
113. Laser Mission Study, 47.
114. Spacecast 2020, Operational Analysis volume, 36.
115. Air Force 2025, White Paper Summaries, 8.
116. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 23-26.
117. Spacecast 2020, Operational Analysis volume, 36.
118. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 23-26.
119. Anselmo, 67.
120. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 56.
121. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 57; Air Force
2025, White Paper Summaries, 7.
122. Major Steven R. Peterson, Space Control and the Role of
Antisatellite Weapons, Airpower Research Institute Research
Report No. AU-ARI-90-7, May 1991.
123. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, 23, 57.
124. Spacecast 2020, Operational Analysis volume, 37-38.
125. Spacecast 2020, Operational Analysis volume, 37; “Weather
as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025,” Air Force
2025, White Paper Summaries, 33.
126. Joint Vision 2010, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1996, 21.
127. The precise mathematical meaning of nonlinearity is
unfortunately not followed in the military literature. A linear
system is characterized by a linear connection between input and
output, e.g., doubling an input generates twice the output. A
nonlinear system is any system that deviates from this
relationship. In the military concept, there is a ‘historical’
expectation of lethality and accuracy based on the use of “dumb”
munitions and the PGMs deviate from this expectation, hence the
association with nonlinearity.
128. Richard P. Hallion, “Precision Guided Munitions and the New
Era of Warfare,” Air Power History, Fall 1996, 11.
129. Ibid., 7.
130. Benedict, 47.
131. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, x, 29.
132. Air War - Vietnam (New York: ARNO Press, 1978), 85.
133. Major Phil Ruhlman, “Joint Laser Interoperability,” USAF
Weapons Review, Summer 1994, 14-17.
134. Michael F. Luniewicz et al., “Testing the inertial
pseudo-star reference unit,” Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing
VIII, SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2221, paper no. 2221-57, 1994.
Meeting held in Orlando, FL, from 4 April to 8 April 1994.
135. The size of the spot is estimated by the formula 2.44 (lR/D)
where l is the wavelength, R is the range and D is the output
diameter, all in meters. A number of factors decrease the energy
in this spot, but the diameter is primarily affected by
atmospheric turbulence. Some of these effects can be reduced
substantially by adaptive optics technology that is rapidly
136. Goodman, 36.
137. Ruhlman, 16. Also see Laser Range Safety, Military Handbook
828, 15 April 1993, A-4.
138. Laser Range Safety, Military Handbook 828, 15 April 1993,
139. Ruhlman, 16.
140. Benedict, 47.
141. New World Vistas, Directed Energy volume, x.
142 Colonel John A. Warden III, “Planning the Air Campaign,” The
Air Campaign—Planning for Combat, 1988, 154.
143. Bernard and Fawn M. Brodie, From Crossbow to H-Bomb
(Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1973) 212.
144. “Desert Storm and the GBU-28,” Wright Laboratory Armament
Directorate home page, located at <www.wlmn.eglin.af.mil/public/iraq.html>
accessed on 22 Mar 97.
145. John Brownlee, “Laser Technology Used In Somalia May Aid
Law Enforcement,” Phillips Laboratory Press Release No. 95-88,
146. See, for example, Dr. William J. Perry, Secretary of
Defense, to the Secretaries of the Military Departments,
Subject: Acquisition Reform, 15 March 1994 and Dr. Brenda
Forman, “Wanted: A Constituency for Acquisition Reform,”
Acquisition Review Quarterly, Spring 1994, 90-99. The SAF/AQ web
site has extensive material on acquisition reform, especially
the Lightning Bolt Initiatives. It is located at <www.safaq.hq.af.mil/acq_ref/>.
147. John M. Griffin and Victor D. Wiley, Pathways to Tomorrow:
The Development Planning Process, Technical Report
ASC-TR-94-5024, Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson
AFB, OH, April 1994.
148. AF Instruction 10-1401, “Modernization Planning
Documentation,” 22 May 1995, appendix.
149. Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, The
Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the
Dynamics of Innovation (NY, Oxford University, 1995).
150. Griffin and Wiley, 5. (Adapted after Figure 4 of
151. Lt Col Craig V. Bendorf, Can the Current Acquisition
Process Meet Operational Needs?, Air War College Research
Report, April 1996. Loan copies are available from the Air
University Library at (334) 953-7223 or DSN 493-7223.
152. DOD Guide to Integrated Product and Process Development,
Version 1.0, 5 February, 1996, Chapter 2. This document was
accessed via the Defense Acquisition Deskbook version 1.3.
155. Peter Grier, “DarkStar and Its Friends,” Air Force
Magazine, July 1996, 43.
156. Brownlee. Also, the story of this success is based in part
on the briefing given to AWC students by the Semiconductor
Applications Group (PL/LIDA) on 5 November 96 and in part by the
author’s association with this group during the field testing.
157. “Air Force establishes battlelabs,” Air Force News release,
10 January 1997, downloaded from <www.dtic.mil/airforcelink/news/Jan1997/n19970110_970034.html>
on 14 January 1997.
Center for Strategy and Technology
The Center for Strategy and Technology was established at the Air
War College in 1996. Its purpose is to engage in long-term strategic
thinking about technology and its implications for U.S. national
The Center focuses on education, research, and publications that
support the integration of technology into national strategy and
policy. Its charter is to support faculty and student research,
publish research through books, articles, and occasional papers,
fund a regular program of guest speakers, host conferences and
symposia on these issues, and engage in collaborative research with
U.S. and international academic institutions. As an outside funded
activity, the Center enjoys the support of institutions in the
strategic, scientific, and technological worlds.
An essential part of this program is to establish relationships with
organizations in the Air Force as well as other Defense of
Department agencies, and identify potential topics for research
projects. Research conducted under the auspices of the Center is
published as Occasional Papers and disseminated to senior military
and political officials, think tanks, educational institutions, and
other interested parties. Through these publications, the Center
hopes to promote the integration of technology and strategy in
support of U.S. national security objectives.
For further information on the Center on Strategy and Technology,
William C. Martel, Director
Air War College
325 Chennault Circle
Montgomery, AL 36112
(334) 953-2384 (DSN 493-2384)