A new flexible pump source, the optically-pumped semiconductor disk laser (SDL), for the Cr2+:ZnSe laser is reported. The SDL provides up to 6W output power at a free running central wavelength of 1.98|im. The Cr 2+:ZnSe laser operated at an output power of 1.8W and a slope efficiency of ∼50% with respect to absorbed pump power whilst maintaining a low output intensity noise figure of <0.14% RMS. The system required no optical isolation even under the situation of significant optical feedback. ©2009 Optical Society of America.