HELWSs operating in the littoral environment encounter thermal blooming
, a phenomenon that limits the atmospheric propagation of a high energy laser beam.
Thermal blooming is caused by a succession of plasmas, small clouds of ionized gas created by the beam's energy.
Should experiments planned for the '90s establish that such a wavelength does not exist, another approach is being studied to circumvent thermal blooming and the Raman effect.
One of the results of this research is a comprehensive laser propagation model which includes the effects of atmospheric turbulence, molecular and aerosol absorption and scattering as well as thermal blooming