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28 November 1988 Laser Communication System Design
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The Air Force is interested in laser communication systems for a variety of air-to-air applications. Laser data transmission offers significant advantages over RF systems in certain areas including higher data rates with low transmitter power, narrower beam divergence leading to difficulty in interception, narrower field of view coupled with high off-axis energy rejection which makes jamming a very formidable task, and smaller antenna size which creates minimum installation impact on an aircraft. The applications with the greatest near-term potential involve the transfer of data between large aircraft operating in relatively benign dynamic environments normally present at altitudes of about 30,000 feet. Systems performing these strategic data exchange (SDE) functions must operate at ranges of 100 to 200 nautical miles at data rates of 2 to 3 megabits per second and the probability of bit error rates not exceeding 10-6. The paper presents the major communication channel elements of a design for a lasercom system performing SDE roles. The design is established by comparing the advantages of the different approaches. The final design selection is based on the transmitter characteristics required for each system. The characteristics include physical properties, development risk, cost, as well as the flexibility for meeting more stringent system performance specifications without requiring major redesign.
© (1988) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
W. L. Casey, G. R. Doughty, J. G. Houston,, R. K. Marston, L. J. O'Pella, and L. V. Vo "Laser Communication System Design", Proc. SPIE 0996, High Data Rate Atmospheric and Space Communications, (28 November 1988);

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