With the National Defense Strategy shifting focus from counterterrorism to near-peer adversaries, Directed Energy (DE), including both high energy lasers (HEL) and high power microwave (HPM), has become one of the U.S. military’s key modernization weapons strategies.
Radiance is at the forefront of this DE push with our role as developer and integrator of key, critical technical components, system analytics, propagation modeling and analysis, lethality, and live fire operations and tests. Our capabilities in engineering, technology development, and prototype products and advanced technologies transition provides our Government customers with subject matter expertise in all aspects of laser weapons.
HEL Support Industry Leadership
Our mission for Directed Energy weapons centers around supporting our customers to provide the best product for our soldiers. Over the years, our HEL group has grown from just a handful personnel to well over 75 employee-owners supporting DE projects. We rapidly provide our soldiers with DE air defense systems for our Army programs, on-site systems engineering support for the Air Force’s HEL programs, and modeling and simulation for the Navy.
Producing quality HEL weapons in a rapid time frame is critical and valuable for our Government customers. Radiance served as lead integrator for upgrading the 10kW High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) to a 50kW High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT). This system successfully defeated soft and hard to kill dynamic targets at many different aspect angles and trajectories. We also developed innovative products to test and characterize the large beam sizes (50cm) and high powers (500kW) associated with DE weapons.
Cutting Edge HEL and HPM Facilities
We are committed to building and sustaining DE capabilities. Radiance established a system characterization laboratory along with adjoining high bay with overhead crane, which we use for subsystem testing and system integration and test.
Our state-of-the-art STORM lab in our Huntsville, AL office allows us to perform advanced testing, assessment, failure analysis, and technology development to support the HPM community. As the prime contractor for the Army’s Solid-State Laser Testbed (SSLT) facility at HELSTF, we routinely conduct both static and dynamic live-fire testing and experimentation. Radiance also maintains and upgrades the SSLT and the Army’s lethality facility located at Redstone Arsenal, AL.
Using these facilities, we investigate how the military applies HEL in realistic test conditions, as well as develop and generate vulnerability modules as an end product. At Radiance, we provide future HEL weapon systems with “best aimpoints” for adversarial targets.
As the lead contractor for the Army’s HEL Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT), we provide innovative concepts, integrate emerging technology components and subsystems into the system, and conduct experiments, both in a lab and on test ranges.
DE Software Development and Lethality
Through our experience on the Army’s HEL and HPM lethality programs, we thoroughly understand the military’s goals. We help the customer investigate system failure modes by comparing hardware configurations, attack parameters, laboratory failure testing results, and failure case studies.
Radiance offers a HEL modeling suite that allows the user to perform system and subsystem analyses to evaluate candidate HEL subsystem components, laser weapon performance, lethality, and systems effectiveness. We develop candidate weapon target assignment strategy algorithms to support battle management, control functions, and characterize DE system effectiveness in destroying targets.
We also developed our own, custom HPM environment workflow software package, Coordinated Ontology Based Reasoning and Analysis (COBRA), to analyze automated system susceptibility. COBRA builds on multiple years of experimental support to the Army on our Electro-Magnetic Attack and Protect (EMAP) program. Our work also includes developing an Army toolkit for tracking algorithm development, testing, and analysis.
On the HPM side, we assess High Powered RF and HPM-induced failure mechanisms in electronics to understand how to amplify and increase the effect on threat systems while simultaneously developing a means to protect our own systems and technologies from such attacks.
DE Test, Demonstration, and Analysis
One of the most important aspects of the DE weapon development life cycle is system test and demonstration. Radiance has been instrumental in working with other DoD sites to increase the number of test ranges allowing active HEL tests. Our HEL testing subject matter expertise provides our customers and their potential new test locations with the support and confidence to expand their testing capabilities beyond kinetic weapons.
Since 2013, we have provided test planning and range coordination for most Army-related HEL tests and have demonstrated at Redstone Test Center, White Sands Missile Range, Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Sill, and most recently U.S. Military Academy. We can provide test planning and coordination, test execution, data collection, and post-test analysis of system performance.
From Concepts to Capabilities, we use revolutionary technology both in the lab and test range environment for our HEL test instrumentation suite. We exploit our deep knowledge of laser and subsystem performance physics, allowing our suite to characterize system performance at many integration levels.
Manufacturing Technology Maturation and Advancement
With our extensive experience in all aspects of HEL product development and maturation, we have recently entered a new area to support the Army in assessing, maturing, and advancing the manufacturing readiness level (MRL) for HEL system development cycle components.
This support focuses on researching, designing, implementing, and evaluating advanced manufacturing techniques for HEL weapon system components and subsystems. Through our work with Army Manufacturing Technologies (ManTech), we serve to expedite manufacturing of limited quantity specialized HEL Components in the areas of laser, beam control, thermal, and power. We help manufacturing partners navigate the manufacturing valley of death and prepare for future HEL system requirements.