WASHINGTON The Pentagon said last week that an experimental laser subsystem being developed by TRW Inc. achieved "first light" in a successful demonstration June 26 test at TRW's Capistrano Test Facility in California.The Tactical High Energy Laser is a joint research effort of the Department of Defense and the Israeli military under DOD's Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program. The first successful test demonstrated the laser subsystem's full capabilities along with laser optical control of the extraction of a high-energy laser beam, DOD said.
The laser demonstration was initiated in 1996 by the United States and Israel to evaluate the laser's effectiveness against Katyusha rockets fired by Lebanese forces into northern Israel and an Israeli-occupied buffer zone in Lebanon. The agreement calls for development and testing of the tactical laser demonstrator, consisting of a laser and pointer-tracker as well as command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) subsystems.
The laser and pointer-tracker subsystems will next be transported to the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range, N.M., to be integrated with C3I components later this summer.
The laser demonstration program is jointly managed by the Army's Space and Missile Command and the Israeli Ministry of Defense. TRW Inc. (El Segundo, Calif.) is the primary civilian contractor.