Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fiber laser technology in precision engagement projects

by John Keller

Lockheed Martin Corp. certainly is making the most of its acquisition two years ago of a fiber laser company in Bothell, Wash., called Aculight Corp. Lockheed Martin is capitalizing on Aculight's fiber laser technology for a variety of precision-engagement systems such as the One-Shot military sniper targeting system, the Dynamic Image Gun sight Optic (DInGO) initiative, and the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System.

The common denominator among One-Shot and these other programs at Lockheed Martin is a small, lightweight fiber laser that is able not only to illuminate targets covertly at night, but also literally to reach out and touch the air column between shooter and target to measure crosswind conditions, provide compensation, and enable snipers and other military weapons experts to hit their targets with the first shot, nearly every time.

The One-Shot program is for military snipers working with specialized precision-targeting rifles who are engaging targets at extremely long ranges, often from hidden locations. The DInGO program, meanwhile, seeks to help every soldier be a marksman by enhancing the ability to hit targets at ranges from 10 to 2,000 feet.

What's truly exciting to Lockheed Martin executives, however, is the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System, which enables snipers to work remotely from safe locations to operate rifles mounted to manned and unmanned helicopters, as well as fixed-site towers. The chief enabling technology, all these programs, is the Aculight fiber laser.

I think Lockheed Martin officials would agree that the Aculight acquisition was one of the smartest moves at this company in a long time.

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