Future Trends

AFRL, NMSU Sign Education Partnership Agreement to Continue Laser Weapon Cooling System Testing

High-power weapons

AFRL, NMSU Sign Education Partnership Agreement to Continue Laser Weapon Cooling System Testing

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory‘s Directed Energy Directorate has entered into a five-year strategic education partnership agreement with New Mexico State University to test cooling solutions for high-powered weapons.

The EPA extends the loan of an AFRL-owned laser diode system that the university will use for testing. According to Sean Ross, deputy high energy laser technical area leader at AFRL, heat is a major setback in deploying directed energy weapons. He shared that heat can affect power consumption and the overall size and weight of the system.

The deal allows NMSU to continue testing DEW cooling solutions following interruptions in 2020, AFRL said Wednesday.

Krishna Kota, an associate professor at NMSU’s Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, related the heat generated by DEWs to those generated by rocket engine motor exhaust systems and the radiation felt within the proximity of a nuclear explosion. According to Kota, the cooling system that the university is developing is a two-phase cooling flow loop that is designed to handle high-level, transient heat densities.

The associate professor said the system has already demonstrated its capabilities in preliminary experiments. Kota believes testing will be completed within 2022, barring delays.

He added that the deal gives the university access to state-of-the-art equipment and promotes the development of the national science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce. The research will also provide AFRL with useful data that will support work in DEW and support overall national security efforts.

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Category: Future Trends