Established in 2002, Applied Energetics was founded on the premise that an entrepreneurial approach to technology development would accelerate the advancement of Laser Guided Energy™ (LGE™) to solve critical needs in the Directed Energy Weapon arena. Today our passionate, creative, and entrepreneurial team delivers transformational solutions to our customers in the defense and commercial sectors.
Since it's founding, Applied Energetics has remained an innovation leader in the areas of high power lasers, high voltage electronics, advanced optical systems, and energy management systems technologies. AE has crafted a range of energy-based defense, industrial, scientific, and aerospace deliverables for customers worldwide—ranging from every branch of the U.S. Military to global chemical conglomerates.
Applied Energetics continues to advance these technologies by creating new products and applications, including an effective and robust counter-IED system. As LGE and our counter-IED systems have matured, we have further reinforced our leadership with unique expertise and competitive advantages in the following core capabilities:
- Ultrashort pulse lasers that are capable of high average power and high pulse energy, suitable for military and industrial applications
- Solid-state high voltage and charged particle acceleration systems that are robust and fault tolerant
- An organization that excels at responding rapidly to customer requirements by providing innovative and sound solutions to their problems
The Evolution of Laser Guided Energy (LGE)
The first demonstrations of LGE were conducted in February 2003, shortly after the company was formed. In September 2003 the company was awarded its first DoD contract from the U.S. Air Force to conduct further demonstrations and advancement of the technology. In March of 2004 several significant events occurred:
- We received a contract from the U.S. Navy to develop an advanced laser system
- We went public on the NASDAQ
- The Government classified much of the details regarding the technology
In April 2004 we received another contract from the Department of Homeland Security through the Department of Energy. In September of 2004 the company purchased North Star Research Corporation, bringing experience and expertise in the development of high voltage systems, as well as an established base of customers to include the U.S. Government, Government contractors and domestic and international commercial businesses.
The Board of Directors has taken an active role in formulating the new company strategy and brings outstanding experience to provide guidance as the company matures from a start-up and development company to a fully qualified supplier of military and commercial products.
With a new Strategic Plan in place, AE has several priorities on which we focus:
1. Continue to support the Marines with the counter-IED system and leverage that success to introduce the capability to the U.S. Army and allied forces conducting operations overseas.
2. Grow the company by:
- Developing new products for commercial and Government customers based upon the technologies and capabilities established by previous efforts
- Fostering innovation to continue to fill the product pipeline so that the customer base can be expanded and diversified
- Introducing, or re-introducing, the company to Government and Department of Defense organizations for which AE’s capabilities can provide solutions to their most pressing problems. This includes DoD and Government “systems integrators” who need to provide a path of continuous improvement for their established programs and products and could avail themselves of AE’s technologies and capabilities
- Pursuing commercial markets and applications where our products and technologies can provide new capabilities or significant competitive advantage
- Establishing partnerships with companies that possess capabilities required to further advance AE’s products. Examples would include companies that make beam directors for lasers, who have experience integrating systems on military vehicles and aircraft, etc.
The military has continued to fund the development of LGE throughout the company's life and significant progress continues to be made in moving this transformational technology to the maturity required to be fielded to meet the military's mission needs.
Ultrashort Pulse Laser Systems
Applied Energetics uses ultrashort pulse lasers to form the plasma channels in the atmosphere which enable LGE. With almost 8 years experience in the development and use of these unique laser systems, AE has also pursued applications that use only the highly specialized laser technologies. Under a contract with the U.S. Navy in 2007, an ultrashort pulse laser was installed in a specially modified commercial truck This Transportable Demonstrator was delivered to the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana in February of 2008. We supported demonstrations of laser propagation and effects through August of 2008. The results of that effort led to another contract to build a more advanced system in the Fall of 2009, which was delivered in the summer of 2010.
The Development of Counter-IED Technology
In November of 2004 the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a call to industry looking for solutions to the crisis in Iraq resulting from the prevalent use of roadside bombs, or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We briefed the staff of the Deputy Secretary in January 2005 on LGE and its capability to address the threat. While the concept of using LGE was well received, the time required to complete development and field the technology was judged as too long by the OSD staff, as they were looking for solutions in the 6-12 month timeframe.
Our engineers and scientists then devised another solution only two weeks after briefing OSD. By the end of January the Deputy Secretary’s staff was being briefed again on the new concept. By March 2005 an initial prototype had been built, with a second, remote-controlled prototype completed by April. A letter contract was then funded by the Joint IED Task Force to build 12 remotely-controlled systems.
Counter-IED Technology and Operations
The company continued to invest in the counter-IED technology and another system was built that met the requirements of the Marine Corps. The Marines obtained funding for the new prototype from the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) in April of 2007. An initial prototype was tested at White Sands Missile Range in November and December of 2007 and the success of the system resulted in a follow-on contract for 10 systems in early 2008. These systems were built and began integration with deploying USMC units in the Fall of 2008. This included extended operations at Camp Pendleton and Twenty Nine Palms, training, safety testing and other pre-deployment requirements. In May 2009 the systems were deployed for an Operational Assessment, commencing operations in July. The systems have been in operation since that time, with the Operational Assessment being completed in March 2010. Extended Operational Support has been continued at the request of the Field Commander.