Directed Energy Outlook: Preparing for Full Deployment

Harry Sinsheimer serves as the Deputy Director to the Joint Directed Energy Transition Office (DE JTO) since February 2017. Harry’s experience, knowledge, skills and understanding of laser technology, directed energy weapons, test and evaluation, financial management, logistics, program analysis, organizational and force structure is helping advocate, develop and execute a DE JTO investment strategy that builds on existing programs while exploiting promising new technology developments for Directed Energy weapon system applications.

Harry’s 36 year government career included serving as Technical Advisor and Program Manager on several Missile Defense Agency’s Advanced Laser and Sensor projects after serving a wide range of roles and responsibilities on the Airborne Laser Program, cradle to grave, from 1995 to 2012 gaining valuable experience on laser weapon systems. Harry earned a Master’s Degree in Project Management from Penn State Erie, the Behrend College in 2006 and earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico – Robert O. Anderson School of Management in 1999.

In your opinion, what DE priorities will/should take precedence in 2019 and 2020?

Highest priority: Getting feedback (e.g. lessons learned) from the ongoing DE experimentations, in theater trials, Navy RPEDS, and any other warfighter feedback mechanisms. Determining what the S and T community can address from that feedback. Then prioritize projects that have the highest impact on System Level SWaP (e.g. high temperature diodes, high efficiency diodes).

How can we best prepare to move out of development and onto deployment?

It seems the way to do this is get someone with enough pull excited about the technology and convince them to lay down some personal capital (reputation) to get it moving forward. Look at what the Navy has been able to do with Adm Hahn’s help.

A second side of this is to convince the warfighter HELs are useful and can do things a kinetic weapon can’t. I also believe we need to start small getting lasers into the field – don’t wait for the perfect system. More demonstrations of what they can do.

What are the largest challenges today in integrating HELs?

Technical: how to maintain alignment (within the laser and with the target acquisition and BC systems) through rough passage and replacement of units in the field. Ultimately should lead to a “shoot on the move” capability.

Understanding the complexity of integrating HEL systems coupled with the platform environment. Optical integration is every bit as difficult as developing the technology and too often it’s considered “bolt the stuff together and it will work.” Characterizing the environment and predicting near real time performance in varying condition.

Tentatively, what are your suggestions for key objectives/priorities for the next 2-5 years?

Create and maintain a portfolio that provides Joint DE support to both near term transition and far-term DE system development. Based on collaboration, cooperation, and communication across the services and agencies.

Near term transition of lower power HEL systems such as Raytheon’s MRZR and Boeing’s CLWS benefit from DEJTO investment in: educational outreach, international campaigns, T and E standards, Policy, and TTPs. Early transition of HEL system to the warfighter is vital to the mission of the entire DE community.

The feedback, lessons learned, from the DE system end-user (warfighter) must inform our direction for future investments. The other broad area of investment for DE-JTO must be the “system after next” since the DE-JTO also provides significant advancement in the technology areas needed for the next level of capability (system effectiveness and SWAP).

Increasing laser power – broadening our focus into pulsed as well as CW systems. Pulling together information on or testing to find out lethality of pulsed lasers – optimal pulse properties (width, repetition rate, energy, etc). As we advance laser power, we also need to make sure components get matured as well.

As a speaker at the upcoming 4th Annual Directed Energy Systems Summit, what is one message you hope attendees will take away from your presentation?

The DE JTO is a valuable source of HEL and HPM information available to the community and also provides funding opportunities for academic, service and agencies and industry.

Related Links

4th Annual Directed Energy Systems Summit

Learn about laser weapon technology at

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US Navy Ships to Deploy Lasers as Anti-Missile Defense in 2021

Washington DC (Sputnik) May 27, 2019

In an attempt to outflank Russian and Chinese naval tactics, the US Navy is rushing to put a laser defense system on its destroyers – first, for the purpose of improving targeting, but eventually scaling the lasers up to being weapons in themselves.

The US Navy aims to begin replacing its present anti-missile weapons systems with laser-based ones beginning in 2021 with the guided missile destroyer USS Preble. This, it hopes, will spawn a new wave of innovation that will enable the Navy to respond … read more

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