Prospects for SDI laser research

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is an aggressive program to research and develop a broad range of science and technologies for defense applications against ballistic missiles. A significant part of the program involves research related to lasers and optics. This article, in a pictorial format, summarizes some of the remarkable progress in this area and offers some insight into experiments, developments, and programs in progress. To understand the laser research programs and motivation for this work, it is useful to begin with a brief review of the overall SDI concept and defense architecture. The laser and optics application in these various architectures will be highlighted, and the progress and future directions of SDI laser and optics research will be discussed.

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