Apache Helicopter fires high-energy laser
A high-energy laser mounted on an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter acquired and hit an unmanned target during a recent firing test conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Raytheon announced on 26 June.
The test was conducted by Raytheon and the US Army Apache Program Management Office, in collaboration with US Special Operations Command.
For the test, Raytheon coupled a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS) EO-IR sensor with a laser. The MTS provided targeting information, situational awareness and beam control.
The system tracked and directed energy on a stationary target at a slant range of 1.4km. According to the company, this was the first time a fully integrated laser system successfully shot a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and airspeeds, proving the feasibility of laser attack from Apache.
The data collected from the test, including the impact of vibration, dust and rotor downwash, will help shape future high-energy laser systems.
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