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GBAD DE OTM Ground-Based Air Defense
Directed Energy On-the-Move

Boeing Laser Avenger is an infrared laser system mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle developed by Boeing Combat Systems. Boeing's Laser Avenger took part in tests for the US Air Force and the US Army in 2009, successfully destroying one UAV and 50 IEDs. To keep the Boeing Avenger air defense weapon system up to date against the latest potential threats, Boeing funded its own initiative to fully integrate this laser tracking weapon into the Avenger vehicle. The prototype, called Laser Avenger, has been demonstrating its capabilities over the past three years. It allows the warfighter to flip a switch and shoot a Stinger missile, flip a switch and fire a gun, or toggle another switch and fire the laser.

The Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move [GBAD DE OTM] will demonstrate the capability of a rugged, expeditionary HEL system that can be cued by a radar capable of detecting low radar cross-section threats. Upon completion of the ONR program around 2022, the GBAD DE OTM system would transition into a program of record in the Marine Corps and likely reside alongside the Stinger missile system.

Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move [GBAD DE OTM] consists of a vehicle-mounted, high-energy laser (HEL) as well as command, control, and communications (C3) and a volumetric surveillance radar. The volumetric search RADAR locates unmanned aerial system (UAS) targets of interest and passes the information to the C3 platform. The C3 platform performs an analysis of the threat and passes the radar information to the laser platform, which then locates and begins tracking the UAS utilizing a day/night capable sensor system. This then allows the C3 platform to perform visual confirmation and aim point selection. If a kill decision is made, the threat is lased until destruction.

This five-year development effort includes three key demonstrations of increased capabilities and culminating in an on the move end-to-end engagement of UASs in FY17.

  • FY15: Completely stationary end-to-end engagement
  • FY16: Demonstrate an at-the-halt single engagement, with mobile cueing / tracking
  • FY17: Demonstrate full mobility between multiple engagements

Upon completion of the ONR program around 2022, the GBAD DE OTM system would transition into a program of record in the Marine Corps and likely reside alongside the Stinger missile system.

GBAD will demonstrate the capability of a rugged, expeditionary HEL system that can be cued by a radar capable of detecting low radar cross-section threats. It will be able to perform hard kills of UASs to prevent reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition of expeditionary forces. It also will demonstrate a C2 interface that is optimized for operational use.

GBAD uses several science and technology development efforts from within the Office of Naval Research, and leverages innovations from the High Energy Laser-Joint Technology Office (HEL-JTO).

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division serves as the lead system integrator for the GBAD program and is working with industry partners to develop, mature, and integrate novel key components and subsystems that improve state-of-the-art performance.

Significant laser and vehicle modeling and simulation, coupled with a detailed trade-off analysis, led to a sophisticated design strategy. This led to the selection of a palletized laser weapon system design using a planar wave guide laser for 30 kW nominal power; a lightweight reflective beam director; on-board vehicle power enhancements; lithium Ion batteries for power storage; and phase-change material cooling systems that conform to the size, weight and power constraints of using a tactical vehicle platform.

This Future Naval Capability (FNC) will demonstrate a vehicle-mounted on-the-move short-range air-defense laser system to defeat Low Observable/Low Radar Cross Section (LO/LRCS) threats to a Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). Shortfalls of the Marine Corps current low-altitude air-defense program of record have been identified with the advent of new threats, specifically Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs). Threat UASs may have surveillance weapon payloads. The need for a new expeditionary mobile air- defense weapon with improved effectiveness has been identified. GBAD DE OTM will provide close- in, low-altitude, surface-to-air weapons fire in defense of MAGTF assets against LO/LRCS threats. GBAD DE OTMs mission is to prevent reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, and engagement of expeditionary forces.

The GBAD DE OTM system will nominally consist of three subsystems mounted on a light tactical vehicle (objective platform of JLTV with interim demonstrations on M1152A1 HMMWV): Volume-Surveillance Radar, Command and Control (C2), and a High-Energy Laser (HEL) Weapon. While ONR and many government agencies have invested in research and development of all three subsystems and their related components, no systems currently exist which satisfy all of the requirements of this FNC. This announcement aims to identify, develop, and mature novel key components and subsystems that significantly improve upon state-of-the-art performance along with additional key considerations of: reductions in size, weight, and power consumption, and on- the-move capability.

  1. Light Tactical Vehicle-Mounted Command, Control and Communications (C3) mobile/expeditionary/on-the-move command, control, and communications required to integrate elements of the GBAD FNC to include high-quality stills and/or video imagery, and fire-control quality data (including target position data to permit acquisition of target with local sensors) with ability to minimize latency and support Quality of Service (QoS).
  2. Light Tactical Vehicle-Mounted Volume Surveillance Radar mobile/expeditionary/on-the- move radar system capable of detecting and tracking targets of interest at operationally relevant ranges with acceptable false alarm rates
  3. M1152A1 HMMWV-Mounted mobile/expeditionary/on-the-move Laser Weapon System with lasing profile including full-power lasing for up to 120 seconds followed by a 20 minute recharge to 80% of total capacity (power and thermal) - this lasing period is cumulative between recharges, and may be continuous. Laser Weapon System total weight not to exceed 2,500 lbs., and fully contained within vehicles cargo area.
    • The HEL Source would be compact (inclusive of all equipment required to operate laser source), rugged (able to survive and operate in and after transit through operationally relevant environments), high efficiency and good beam quality laser (greater than 20% electrical-to-optical within a 2.0 (Threshold) to 2.5 (objective) times lambda/D circumscribed diameter circular bucket) with minimum optical output power of 25kW. Approaches for combining lower power lasers within the above constraints as well as options to increase power (up to 50kW) are also of interest.
    • The Beam Director would be compact, lightweight, rugged, capable of handling a 50 kW beam, approximately 30 cm aperture, and capable of maintaining the beam on a selected aim point on target at range with less than 5 rad jitter RMS and 3 rad/s drift; including environmental coatings and seals and exit aperture protection in all USMC environments spanning littoral to desert environments.
    • Beam Control hardware, techniques, and processing systems for improved reduction of base movement, including but not limited to advanced fast steering mirrors; automated internal alignment system to include alignment of sub-aperture beams and shared aperture imaging systems.
    • Adaptive Optics novel and innovative approaches and solutions for compact adaptive optics capable of handling a 50kW beam that will sense and correct atmospheric effects resulting from USMC environmental conditions.
    • Atmospheric Characterization and Tactical Decision Aid: approaches to detect/measure atmospheric conditions and support predictions of HEL performance.
    • Thermal Storage and Management capable of removing waste heat from the laser commensurate with power and efficiencies mentioned above.
    • Power Generation, Storage, and Conditioning rugged, compact solutions capable of supplying continuous clean stable power to the laser during firing commensurate with power and efficiencies mentioned above. For batteries, cooling capability to mitigate thermal effects is also of interest.
    • Weapon Station Controls and Displays single user interface console providing full weapon system control including system health monitoring.
    • Long Range EO/IR optics novel, innovative or improved optics and imaging systems/subsystems to support enhanced Combat ID.

The intent is not to procure or develop the HEL Weapon System as part of this Special Notice, but to focus on the research and development of components mentioned above which may be integrated into a HEL Weapon system by the US Government.

RADA Electronic Industries Ltd., an Israel-based defense electronics contractor - a leading defense electronics contractor specialized in the development, production, and sale of Tactical Land Radars - announcee 12 June 2014the selection of its RPS-42 Tactical Volume Surveillance Radar System by the US Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR). The system was selected for the Ground-Based Air Defense (GBAD) Directed Energy (DE) On-The-Move (OTM) Development Program as part of ONRs plans to increase the US Marine Corps current low-altitude air-defense capabilities in dealing with new threats, specifically Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Delivery of the system to the US Navy was planned for July 2014.

RADAs RPS-42 Tactical Volume Surveillance Radar System, based on its Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR), detects, tracks and classifies micro and mini UAS (Groups 1&2) at ranges of up to 10km. It accurately tracks the threats up to very high elevation angles, operates on-the-move, and introduces unprecedented performance-to-price ratio. In addition to UAVs and short-range RAM (Rockets, Artillery and Mortars), the system also detects and tracks other aerial targets, including fighter and transporter aircraft, helicopters, etc. The uniqueness of the RPS-42 system lies in its ability to detect exceptionally small, low and slow-flying UAS - categorized as significant tactical threats to maneuver forces - which cannot be detected by most existing air defense radars. Advanced VSHORAD systems, especially those based on Directed Energy, require compact tactical radars that are able to detect these and other threats, operate on-the-move, and provide vital real-time threat information to the fire control system. All these critical capabilities are provided by the RPS-42 system - delivering volume surveillance and detection of multiple threat types, including the smallest threats. The MHR an S Band, Software-Defined, Pulse-Doppler, AESA radar is a digital radar platform which is GaN based and introduces sophisticated beam forming capabilities and advanced signal processing. It provides multiple missions on each radar platform and can combine C-UAS and C-RAM operational missions on the same radar, thus delivering ideal organic, tactical surveillance solutions for force protection systems.

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