At the Africa Aerospace and Defense 2016 tradeshow in South Africa, Poly Technologies revealed new details about its lethal laser gun, the Low Altitude Guard II. Built as a joint venture by the Chinese Academy of Physics Engineering and Jiuyuan Hi Tech Equipment Corporation, and marketed by Poly Technologies, the Low Altitude Guard I first debuted in 2014.
LAG I was marketed as a law enforcement/counter terrorism tool, using its electroptical sensors to target errant and rogue UAVs. By knocking small targets down using lasers, the changes of collateral damage were reduced compared to explosive anti-aircraft artillery or missiles.
Compared with its predecessor, LAG II is more apparently militarized. Its range is doubled to 4 km and has a 300 percent increase in maximum power output to 30 kilowatts. That’s comparable to the Laser Weapons System (LAWS) installed on the USS Ponce, which has a range of 15-50 kilowatts for attacking UAVs, small boats, and helicopters.
US Navy’s 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce in 2014, that during testing disabled a small Scan Eagle-sized UAV, detonated a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) and burned out the engine of a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB). The LaWS system integrated six solid-state IR beams, tunable to either low output for warning and sensor crippling, or high output for target destruction.
Laser directed energy weapons that are being integrated on warships have been massive in size, however Chinese researchers have developed a breakthrough portable-laser technology with ability to disable heat-seeking sensors on enemy missiles or satellites and to be mounted on aircraft, tanks or even soldiers.
Research team in Beijing at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Physics has said that it has reduced the sophisticated device down to a single piece of crystal, according to South China Morning Post.
“This is a groundbreaking achievement,” Liu Qiang, a professor of laser optics at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, told the Hong Kong newspaper. “Nobody has generated a laser at such a high frequency on a single piece of crystal before.” “Their technology will significantly simplify the process of ultrafast laser production and reduce the size of relevant devices.”
The ultrafast mechanism can not only damage enemy targets but apparently can pick up encrypted communications and detect stealth aircraft, as well. Zhiyuan’s research “hints at a very promising means for greatly expanding the power” of laser technology, his team was quoted as saying in a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.
The LAG II’s eletro-optical guidance system is suitable for knocking out drones (and possibly larger manned, slow aircraft), but would require more sophisticated fire control sensors to target fast-moving objects like incoming artillery shells, cruise missiles, and rockets.
China successfully tests an anti-drone laser weapon for counterterrorism operations (LAG I)
Terrorists have started using small-sized, unmanned drones that are relatively cheap and easy to use. Neutralizing these drones through the snipers and helicopters, is difficult and can result in collateral damage.
In 2014, Xinhua News Agency, China’s state press agency, reported that the China Academy of Engineering Physics (Sichuan Province) and other Chinese co developers have created and tested a laser-defense system designed to shoot down small unmanned drones such as “quadricopters” as well as small winged drones, flying at low altitude. Chinese Xinhua news agency, has reported 100 percent success rate of its Laser Weapon by shooting down more than 30 drones in a recent test.
The system destroy any small-scale drone flying within a 2Km radius , below of 500 m altitude and below 50 m/s(112mph) speed within five seconds of locating its target, the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), one of the system’s co-developers, claimed in a statement. The mechanism can also take down various other small aircraft within a two-kilometer radius.
“Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage,” says Yi Jinsong, a manager with China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp., a group under the Academy. Yi says that small-scale, unmanned drones are a likely choice for terrorists; in addition, small drones can be used for unlicensed mapping activities and can also interfere with military and civil aerial activities.
The new laser system will be installed or transported in vehicles, and “is expected to play a key role in ensuring security during major events in urban areas,” the CAEP statement said. Xinhua revealed that the academy, was working on similar laser security systems with greater power and range.
Fiber laser technology
China’s laser fiber technology is gradually catching up with the world’s advanced level. Laser World of Photonics China 2014 in Shanghai, saw a demonstration of many Chinese-made fiber lasers. Shenzhen-based Maxphotonics Co., Ltd. (Maxphotonics) had included a product similar to a 10KW fiber laser. Wuhan Raycus Fiber Laser Technologies Co., Ltd successfully developed China’s first 10000W fiber laser in the beginning of 2013.
Chinese have also mastered coherent laser beam combination technology, combining multiple low-power lasers with good beam quality into one high-power beam helps in overcoming power limitations of fiber lasers. Many Journal articles have reported successful combination of 2 to 4 fiber lasers. Higher power levels are required for lasers to be employed in varieties of missions such as wide-area, ground-based defense against rockets, artillery and mortars.
High-Efficiency Broadband High-Harmonic Generation from a Single Quasi-Phase-Matching Nonlinear Crystal
“Nonlinear frequency conversion offers an effective way to expand the laser wavelength range based on birefringence phase matching (BPM) or quasi-phase-matching (QPM) techniques in nonlinear crystals. So far, efficient high-harmonic generation is enabled only via multiple cascaded crystals because of the extreme difficulty to simultaneously satisfy BPM or QPM for multiple nonlinear up-conversion processes within a single crystal.”
“Here we report the design and fabrication of a chirped periodic poled lithium niobate (CPPLN) nonlinear crystal that offers controllable multiple QPM bands to support 2nd–8th harmonic generation (HG) simultaneously. Upon illumination of a mid-IR femtosecond pulse laser, we observe the generation of an ultrabroadband visible white light beam corresponding to 5th–8th HG with a record high conversion efficiency of 18%, which is high compared to conventional supercontinuum generation, especially in the HG parts. Our CPPLN scheme opens up a new avenue to explore and engineer novel nonlinear optical interactions in solid state materials for application in ultrafast lasers and broadband laser source.”
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