U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

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2009 Technology Achievement Award Winner

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Dr. O'Dean Judd


Dr. O'Dean Judd served as Chief Scientist for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) from 1987 to 1990. In this position he was responsible for oversight and technical direction of the Strategic Defense Initiative and provided technical advice to the Director, Lt Gen James A. Abrahamson, and senior staff on all of the key technologies being developed or assessed by SDIO, including space-based interceptors (Brilliant Pebbles), space-based and ground-based LASERs, ground-based interceptors, and associated sensor systems. Based upon his vast and unique knowledge of missile defense technologies, Dr. Judd was instrumental in establishing the initial "system's" definition for the Strategic Defense Initiative, known as "Phase One."

Dr. Judd's many contributions are exemplified by the influence he had on tactical ground-based interceptor systems. Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, he participated in assessments of the Phased Array Tracking Intercept On Target (PATRIOT) air and missile defense system and identified system improvements to include influencing the critical shift in kill mechanisms from blast-fragmentation warheads to hit-to-kill technology.

Dr. Judd was the principal point of contact between SDIO and the scientific and technical communities. He served as a leading spokesman for the SDI program, providing frequent presentations to Congress, senior Department of Defense officials, allied government representatives, arms control delegations and advocating the program to the scientific community. Prior to joining SDIO as Chief Scientist, Dr. Judd served as Chief Scientist for Defense Research Applications at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was responsible for technical evaluation, planning and guidance of directed energy research and other strategic defense programs. In this role he participated in the early efforts to define the scope of President Ronald W. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative and participated on numerous panels and committees related to the establishment and operations of the SDIO.

Dr. Judd returned to the Los Alamos National Laboratory after his assignment to SDIO was completed but continued to support missile defense technology development and system development. In 1993, he assumed responsibility as National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology where he advised the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and was the liaison between the White House and the intelligence community. During this period he was responsible for the preparation of several National Intelligence Estimates that had a direct impact on the direction of and funding for missile defense.

Among the many missile defense studies Dr. Judd lead or participated in were: Tumbling Targets (in response to the 1991 Persian Gulf War); Discrimination Roadmap (to define sensor and algorithm requirements, many of which are now incorporated in Project Hercules); Initial National Missile Defense (which lead to the current Ground-based Midcourse Defense architecture); the Navy STRATPLAN (which solidified the role of the AEGIS weapons system in missile defense); and the National Test Facility Study Group (which formulated and guided establishment of what is now known as the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center). He also served on the Ballistic Missile Defense Special Advisory Committee when abrogation of the ABM Treaty was being considered.

In addition to his many other scholarly publications Dr. Judd coauthored "Ballistic Missile Proliferation: An Emerging Threat, 1992" and "A Historical Account of Discrimination for Ballistic Missile Defense from 1983-1990."

Airborne Laser Technology Team

Mr. Donald E. Clapp, Mr. Jeffrey Hartlove, Dr. Steven Lamberson, Mr. David J. Morris, Dr. Harold B. Schall, and Mr. Paul L. Shattuck

The Airborne Laser (ABL) Technology Team, comprised of Mr. Donald E. Clapp, Mr. Jeffrey Hartlove, Dr. Steven Lamberson, Mr. David J. Morris, Dr. Harold B. Schall, and Mr. Paul L. Shattuck, contributed to the development and integration of crucial technologies that enable the megawatt (MW)-class Airborne Laser to engage in boost phase ballistic missile defense. They overcame a number of significant technical hurdles regarding both the high-energy chemical laser and the beam control and fire control (BC/FC) system to bring the ABL concept closer to reality.

The ABL weapon system demanded a high-energy laser (HEL) capable of producing MW-class power with multiple seconds of duration. It also needed very short timelines to engage and neutralize salvos of ballistic missiles, particularly short-range theater ballistic missiles that burn out quickly. To meet these requirements the ABL Technology Team devised a chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) that combines six laser modules with a pair of diagnostic optical benches and a BC/FC system that compensates for atmospheric turbulence while at the same time accurately pointing the beam. Significant innovations in the technology and design of the transverse uniform droplet oxygen generator achieved production of the singlet oxygen required in the COIL, including designing and manufacturing the supersonic nozzles, basic hydrogen peroxide injectors, and catch tank. Similarly, the challenging technical hurdles for simultaneous start and stable operation of the pressure recovery system were successfully overcome. Development of a reliable mixing process for basic hydrogen peroxide (one of the essential COIL fuels) was also successfully accomplished. In 2005, at the ABL high-energy laser Systems Integration Laboratory (SIL) at Edwards Air Force Base, California, COIL operation demonstrated lethal power and duration with excellent beam quality. In September and October 2008, after installation in the ABL aircraft, the COIL was once again brought to life with lasing ground tests. Preliminary test results indicate similar or improved performance compared to those in the SIL.

The ABL Technology Team successfully developed 127 transmissive and reflective optics and 116 optical coatings that function at five different wavelengths and whose optical characteristics do not degrade with the thermal effects of the HEL. Perhaps the most challenging of the optical elements is the 1.7-meter-diameter turret conformal window which bears in-flight aerodynamic loads while maintaining its optical prescription; the conformal window is the largest transmissive optic of its kind.

Technical challenges faced by the BC/FC system involved directing the HEL beam with sufficient accuracy to deliver lethal fluence at long range to an accelerating ballistic missile during its boost phase. The ABL Technology Team identified and adopted active tracking and atmospheric compensation techniques via the innovative common path, common mode approach, in which separate wavelengths for active tracking (via application of a tracking illuminator solid state laser, the TILL), wavefront compensation for atmospheric disturbances (via a beacon illuminator solid state laser, the BILL), and HEL share common optical paths. The ABL Technology Team successfully delivered a number of advanced technology elements to enable this approach, including BILL and TILL lasers that pushed the state-of-the-art for pulse energy and beam quality, steering and deformable mirrors, and the associated control software with necessary bandwidth and dynamic characteristics. BC/FC active tracking and wavefront compensation tests were accomplished with the ABL aircraft in a series of passive and active illuminator laser ground and flight tests in 2006 and 2007. These tests culminated in 2007 by demonstrating the capability to deliver beams compensated for atmospheric disturbances and focused on a fixed spot on operationally representative dynamic targets. Progress continued in 2008 with fully integrated weapon system ground tests, with planning for full power flight tests in 2009.