Power Supplies for Airborne Laser Systems




Murthy, S.K.
Weldon, W.F
Pratap, S.B
Gagnon, W.

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This paper investigates the power supply options for an airborne laser system (solid state laser diodes). The application demands a power supply capable of a high repetition rate (1,428 pulses per engagement over 2 s) and delivering total energy of 20 MJ (i.e. 14 kJ per pulse). The high repetition rate precludes the use of capacitors. Hence rotating machines storing inertial energy appear to be the most viable option. In this paper the compensated pulsed alternator (compulsator) invented by the Center for Electromechanics at the University Of Texas (CEM-UT) at Austin is examined as a possible power supply option for the above application. The laser system is characterized as a 1.25 m (ohm) resistive load. In the past the compulsator has been examined essentially for inductive loads like the railgun aid hence the analysis presented here throws new light on the capabilities of the compulsator. Several configurations involving the compulsator are evaluated in this paper viz. two machines operating in parallel, a single machine storing all the energy and an external flywheel storing the required energy with compulsator serving as a energy conversion device. The paper explores the lower limits on the compulsator size and weight for the different configurations.


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S.K. Murthy, W.F. Weldon, S.B. Pratap, and W. Gagnon, “Power supplies for airborne laser systems,” Digest of Technical Papers of the 9th IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A., June 21-23, 1993, p. 44.