Modulating Retro-Reflector Lasercom Systems at the Naval Research Laboratory
Free Space Optical (FSO) communication has enjoyed a renewal of interest driven by increasing data rate requirements and the crowding of the RF spectrum, affecting both commercial and military sectors. Military communications must also deal with intentional or unintentional jamming, as well as frequency allocation restrictions, neither of which affects FSO. The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has been conducting research on FSO communications since 1998 with an emphasis on tactical applications. NRL's FSO research has covered propagation studies in the maritime domain, component development, and systems demonstrations. NRL has developed both conventional laser communications systems and retro-reflecting systems for small platforms.