Manufacturing of electro-optic products for military environments poses a large number of apparently intractable and mutually contradictory problems. The ability to successfully engage in this area presents an intellectual challenge of a high order. The Advanced Targeting Sector of Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems Division, based in Edinburgh, has developed a successful range of electro-optic products and transitioned these into a volume, and high value, manufacturing environment. As products cycle through the design process, there has been strong feedback from users, suppliers, and most importantly from our manufacturing organization, that has driven evolution of our design practices. It is fair to say that recent pointer trackers and lasers bear little resemblance to those designed and built 10 years ago. Looking ahead, this process will only continue. There are interesting technologies that will drive improvements in manufacturability, reliability and usability of electro-optic products. Examples might include freeform optics, additive manufacture of metal components, and laser welding of optics to metals, to name but a few. These have uses across our product portfolio and, when sufficiently matured, will have a major impact on the product quality and reliability
Laser manufacturing in Edinburgh was initiated in 1963 by Ferranti (one of the previous names for SELEX Galileo).
Since 2003 a modernized range of military lasers has been established. Innovation, both technical and in other aspects of the business, has enabled the design and manufacture of world leading laser designators and countermeasure lasers. Specific examples will be given including: the application of Geometric Algebra to resonator design; novel alignment free optical parametric oscillators; techniques for designing thermally insensitive laser diode pump heads; and methods for contamination control in lasers.
In this paper we present the use of high power diode arrays, spectrally stabilised using chirped Volume Bragg Gratings
as a pump source for a Nd:YAG based laser. The temperature dependant performance of a series of different stabilised
diodes, and the side pumped Nd:YAG slab resonator was measured over a 55°C temperature range. The best performing
stabilised LDAs exhibited Q-switched output energy consistent over 80% of the temperature range, and drop off by 40%
at the higher temperature extremes. Beam parameters of the laser such as divergence were found to drop in combination
with input energy. Factors such as spectral drifting of the diodes are also considered and the effect on the resonator is