“Peresvet” Combat Laser Complex
During his address to the Federal Assembly, President Vladimir Putin startled some observers when he said that Russia’s progress in laser weaponry was “not just a concept or a plan,” and that the army was already being equipped with combat lasers. Speaking to the nation on March 1, President Putin revealed that Russia had “achieved significant progress in laser weapons,” and that “combat laser systems” began to be delivered into the military last year. Putin’s remarks were complimented by a video showing off what appears to be a heavy, truck-mounted laser platform, whose name and intended purpose remain classified. “I do not want to reveal more details. It is not the time yet. But experts will understand that with such weaponry, Russia’s defense capacity has multiplied,” Putin added.
But what is these Combat Laser Complex [Voevoi Lazernoy Kompleks] actually for? Veteran military analyst Viktor Murakhovsky may have the answer. “Most likely, this system solves air defense and missile defense tasks,” Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland, a Russian military publication, explained. “The use of a laser beam is far more economical than the use of standard anti-missile missiles. At the same time, its accuracy is far greater,” he added.
Alexander Khramchikhin, director of the Moscow-based Institute of Political & Military Analysis, suggested that based on current global trends, Russia’s new battle lasers are most likely designed with close-range air defense in mind, and specifically for the destruction of drones and cruise missiles.
Laser beam control systems have many disparate applications, such as directed energy weapons, both lethal and non-lethal, LIDAR and beacons, countermeasures, remote chemical sensing, target illumination, and micromachining. Among these applications, the high energy laser (HEL) beam control systems are used mainly in directed energy weapons. Beam control in HEL systems is rendered more challenging since such systems are often required to direct the HEL to a target across large distances, thus requiring adaptive optics to correct for atmospheric turbulence and aerosol effects.
High-energy laser weapon systems normally need to compensate for atmospheric fluctuations using adaptive optics. The atmospheric compensation is usually done using a separate beacon illuminator laser to create a pseudo star on the target and sense the return in a wavefront sensor to drive the adaptive optics. In the present invention the high-energy laser itself is used as a beacon illuminator by turning it off periodically for a very short period giving the wavefront sensor and aim point sensor an opportunity to measure the return from the high-energy laser. In addition, the high-energy laser weapon can be snapped ahead of the path of the target to avoid anisoplanatism.
In a high-energy laser weapon system, the laser needs to be maintained on a specific area of the target for a period of time to be effective. Atmospheric compensation using adaptive optics significantly reduces the time the high-energy laser must be maintained on the target. A tracker illuminator (TIL) is employed to measure the angle and range of the target relative to the ground based or airborne HEL weapon system. A beacon illuminator (BIL) is used to create a pseudo star on the target. The BIL return signal is measured by a wavefront sensor to determine atmospheric turbulence between the weapon system and the target. This information is then used to drive adaptive optics (deformable mirrors) to vary the HEL beam to compensate for atmospheric disturbances. This reduces the time on target required for the HEL beam to destroy the target.
For size, weight, and complexity limitations, the HEL and BIL systems are usually shared aperture designs that both transmit the high-energy laser and sense the target through the same telescope since building a second separate telescope and referencing the two to each other tends to be prohibitive. The high-energy laser is often pointed open loop with no feedback as to where it is on the target. The HEL can also be pointed with respect to the BIL, but with no direct feedback if it is hitting the aim point. However, direct feedback can be obtained by looking at the HEL scatter (in band) or heated spot (black body heating or hot spot). The beacon illuminator laser operates at a different frequency than the HEL and could need to be hundreds of watts of power to get enough return signal above the background and electronic noise depending on the range to the target.
RUSSIA shows off Combat Laser and NEW Missile Complex!
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