Ball Aerospace Delivers 500 Tactical Fast Steering Mirrors for Guardian Program
December 09, 2008
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has delivered 500 Tactical Fast Steering Mirrors (TFSMs) to Northrop Grumman Corporation
Fast steering mirror technology is used to compensate for jitter in adaptive optics systems. The Ball Aerospace-provided TFSMs for the Northrop Grumman Guardian™ System rely on technology refined since the company first began design and development in 1983 of one-off, custom fast steering mirrors (FSMs).
The Guardian™ System is a defensive aid utilizing fielded military technology to defend against the threat posed by MANPADS - anti-aircraft, shoulder-fired missiles. Currently in operation with the armed forces of the United States and allied powers, the autonomous system is also of interest to the Department of Homeland Security to protect U.S. commercial aircraft from terrorist attack. Upon detection of a launched missile, the system directs a safe, non-visible laser to the seeker head of the incoming missile, disrupting its guidance signal and diverting its flight path.
"For the past 25 years, Ball Aerospace has diligently advanced its proven technology for TFSMs and is proud to have been selected to provide Northrop Grumman's Guardian program with a design that helps protect the war-fighter, enhances our country's security and may someday protect America's flying public," said Jeff Osterkamp, Vice President for Ball's national defense business execution unit.
Ball began delivering TFSMs to Northrop Grumman's Guardian program in 2004. Ball's mechanism design differs from other technologies due to its unique suspension which provides two-axis rotation about the front surface of the mirror. In addition, the ruggedized TFSM is also lightweight for optimal performance and adapted for tactical environments.
Ball Aerospace has designed and produced more than 50 unique FSM designs in the past 25 years incorporating a range of substrate materials and technologies. The mirrors' responsiveness and high accuracy have made them a key component for numerous applications such as laser communications, astronomical telescopes, Earth-observation surveillance satellites, gimbaled sensors and high-energy laser systems.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. Since 1956, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and is a technology innovator in aerospace.
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