By Andrew Eversden
The new laser will take part in the Army's demonstration of its Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser later this year.
Oklahoma City, Okla. — Lockheed Martin announced today that it has delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the Defense Department and will integrate it into an Army high-energy laser demonstration later this year.
The defense giant developed the laser under the Pentagon’s High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI), an effort by the department to strengthen the directed energy industrial base and improve the quality of laser beams.
The Pentagon selected Lockheed in 2019 to “scale its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300 kW-class level,” as part of the HELSI effort, according to the release. The release also notes that company completed the task ahead of schedule.
“Lockheed Martin increased the power and efficiency and reduced the weight and volume of continuous-wave high energy lasers which reduces risk for future fielding efforts of high power laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions.
The Defense Department is particularly interested in directed energy systems — high energy lasers and high-power microwave — to protect military personnel and installations from aerial threats, including short-range air defense and against drones, rockets, mortar and artillery.
According to the release, the laser will support demonstrations of the Army’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL), which is scheduled for lab and field testing this year. The IFPC-HEL program is one of the Army’s 35 signature modernization priorities. The program falls under the service’s air and missile defense priority area but is managed by the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.
Lockheed Martin also recently delivered a 60+ kW-class laser to the Navy as part of a program called High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-Dazzler and Surveillance.
“This recent HELSI delivery milestone also exemplifies Lockheed Martin’s commitment to 21st Century Security, developing advanced technologies that provide speed, agility, and mission solutions that help ensure the U.S. and its allies are always prepared for what’s ahead,” the Lockheed statement said.
Under another RCCTO program, a Boeing-General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems team are building a 300-kW laser.
The service is delivering a Stryker-mounted 50-kilowatt laser to soldiers soon as part of the Directed Energy Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense program, another signature modernization priority. Additionally, the service is working to integrate a 20-kilowatt laser on an Infantry Squad Vehicle, a new program called the Army Multi-Purpose High Energy Laser.
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