A 1550 nm DWDM planar external cavity laser (ECL) is demonstrated to provide low phase/frequency noise, narrow linewidth, and low RIN. The cavity includes a semiconductor gain chip and a planar lightwave circuit waveguide with Bragg grating, packaged in a 14-pin butterfly package. This planar ECL laser is designed to operate under vibration and in harsh environmental conditions. The laser shows linewidth ≤ 2.6 kHz, phase/frequency noise comparable with that of long cavity fiber lasers, RIN ≤ -147dB/Hz at 1kHz, and power ≥ 10mW. Performance is suitable for various high performance fiber optic sensing systems, including interferometric sensing in Oil and Gas, military/security and other applications, currently served mostly by costly and less reliable laser sources.© (2009) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.