The U.S. Army could soon deploy a 50-kW laser mounted atop its Stryker infantry fighting vehicles to counter threats from enemy unmanned aircraft (UAS), rotary-wing aircraft, rockets, artillery, and mortars. A contract worth $123 million was awarded to Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Kord Technologies to equip three Stryker A1 vehicles with the high energy laser weapon system. This is part of the U.S. Army’s rapid capability acquisition effort to secure Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) capabilities. Read more from Raytheon’s press release below.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S), a Raytheon Technologies business, received a $123 million contract for the Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense, or DE M-SHORAD, weapon systems. The DE M-SHORAD weapon system offers protection for maneuvering ground forces and equipment from threats such as unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS; rotary-wing aircraft; and rockets, artillery and mortars.
The prototype systems are integrated on Stryker combat vehicles that the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office will deliver to a unit of action at the platoon level in 2022. […]
The award follows a U.S. Army DE M-SHORAD exercise at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in summer 2021. RI&S-developed subsystems were assessed in a series of realistic scenarios designed to evaluate the performance of the prototype weapon system and demonstrate its technical maturity and readiness.
During the exercises, soldiers operated the system and effectively tracked, identified and engaged a variety of targets.
[…] The Army is going to use the DE M-SHORAD to complement its fleet of the kinetic M-SHORAD Stryker’s, said Evan Hunt, RI&S director of requirements & capabilities, High Energy Lasers and Counter-UAS.
“The high-energy laser is really well suited for growing, asymmetric threats that we see with drones and rockets, artillery and mortars,” Hunt said. “Laser weapon technology is so compelling for air defense escort of convoys or troop movement missions because it has such a deep magazine. As long as the Stryker has diesel, it can engage.”
A contract has also been awarded to a team including General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Boeing to develop a 300-kW High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS). The team will work together to build a solid-state laser weapon system to be used by ground forces for short-range air defense (SHORAD) to counter unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and incoming artillery. It could even be used to disable military satellites. Read more from General Atomics’ news release below.
A General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing [NYSE: BA] team has been awarded a U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) contract to develop a 300kW-class solid state Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System. Delivery will be a 300 kW-class distributed gain laser with an integrated Boeing beam director. The objective of this contract is a demonstration of the design.
“The high power, compact laser weapon subsystem prototype that GA-EMS will deliver under this contract will produce a lethal output greater than anything fielded to date,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “This technology represents a leap-ahead capability for air and missile defense that is necessary to support the Army’s modernization efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multi-domain battlespace.”
The Pentagon’s directed energy roadmap shows that the department wants a 300-kW direct energy weapon around fiscal 2022, according to a CRS report.
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