Space Based Laser

Answers to Questions Submitted at Industry Day- 26 Aug 97 (11 Sep 97)


Question 1

Subject:

Reactivation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Large Optics Diamond Turning Machine (LODTM)

Question:

If industry can provide existing "better, cheaper, faster" large optics grinding, polishing, figuring capability; would the AF consider using a contractor to provide a feasibility study, and if feasible do the work, versus reactivating the LODTM? (Using an existing capability could reduce up front program costs.)

Answer:

The AF is always interested in doing things better, particularly if they are cheaper and faster. Industry is encouraged to help us identify areas where this is the case.

The LODTM uses single point diamond turning (SPDT) in carving the single crystal silicon optics for the uncooled laser resonator. This is not a simple task; the optics are complex, large, hard, and fragile. Most issues related to fabrication have been resolved by utilizing LODTM. Some issues remain, therefore uncooled optics continues as a top risk area. Unfortunately, they are also a pacing item in the schedule, because the LODTM is the only known machine to have the required capability and the SPDT process is time consuming.

LODTM reactivation efforts are already in progress, because efforts to identify better alternatives have been unsuccessful and the risk and schedule implications needed to be addressed. Nonetheless, because it will continue to be a risk and schedule driver well into the effort, the AF would definitely consider further options studies as a part of the contemplated procurement.


Question 2

Subject:

1) Funding - Budget; 2) Maximum and innovative teaming opportunities

Question:

1) To the best of my knowledge the demonstrator program is neither in the budget or the POM. Without an adequate budget level upon which to base the program plan on how will the program be implemented? What actions are being taken to set a base funding level?

2) In order to get the available SBL team does the Government intend to declare this a new procurement in order to allow the existing teams to re-team in the best interests of the Government?

Answer:

1) Funding will continue to be a constraint on the project. A goal of the acquisition is to establish the capability to execute the project while having flexible mechanisms for planning and adapting to fluctuations in funding received and release dates. Discussions as to setting increased POM funding levels are on-going.

2) The Air Force is defining acquisition strategy for a new procurement that will encompass existing efforts. The acquisition strategy is being built contemplating full and open competition between responsive, responsible offers. The existing teams are free to propose whatever arrangement (teams, consortia, prime/subs, etc) they so choose.


Question 3

Subject:

Risk Reduction Technologies

Question:

Several weeks ago, the Air Force conducted a "Technology Assessment" meeting at the AFRL. Can you discuss the determinations and conclusions of that meeting?

Answer:

The briefing charts from the meeting held at AFRL on 21 Jul 97 are in the SBLRD technical library (will be opening later this month) at SMC/ADEL, LAAFB. The briefing is titled "Space-Based Laser Readiness Demonstrator (SBLRD) Technical Risk Assessment." It presents the results of the technical risk assessment conducted by a risk IPT with members from BMDO, SMC, and AFRL. Risks were assessed in five areas: laser device, beam control, ATP, spacecraft, and RD integration. For the components/functions in each risk area a risk level (low, medium, or high) was assigned. The rationale for the ratings are given, with comments on past and current related technology efforts.