Othela Beam Director Ready for Lab Testing
2011-05-07 16:30:00

The first instantiation of the MZA's Othela beam director (shown below) has been fabricated and is ready for laboratory tests. The Othela line of beam directors provides complete lightweight, compact telescope transceivers featuring on-gimbal beam control including adaptive optic wave front compensation. The 30 cm telescope shown in the photograph below was designed and fabricated by a team led by Dr. Don Washburn in response to the need to reduce the cost, complexity, and footprint of mobile high energy laser systems. Last year MZA completed a series of tests which demonstrated the soundness of Othela's novel wave front control scheme. The 30 cm device will now be subjected to simulated platform disturbances to test and demonstrate the line-of-sight stabilization system.

Addressing a high priority need identified by the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2007, MZA undertook the challenge to develop lightweight compact beam directors for high power laser applications. This required investigation into the use of advanced composite materials and novel beam control concepts. The result has been the development of MZA's Othela line of beam directors that utilize the latest technologies in opto-mechanical materials, gimbals, optical coatings, and sensors to reduce the number of high power optics in order to institute on-gimbal beam control concepts. This effort has resulted in the design and prototype of complete tactical beam directors with integrated beam control systems that are less than 1 cubic meter in volume and weigh less than 500 lbs.