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White Sands counter-drone demo blends laser kill capability with NASAMS
Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) has paired its High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) with the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) air defence system in a C-UAS demonstration at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The live-fire demonstration against a ‘drone swarm’ showed how high-energy lasers ‘can augment existing systems to provide [a] wide area of protection’, Raytheon noted in a 31 March statement, adding that the exercise showcased how NASAMS (developed by Kongsberg and the US company) could be augmented with an added layer of interoperability for medium-range air defence.
In all, the HELWS downed nine Group 1 and Group 2 UAVs.
During the live-fire exercise, the high-energy C-UAS system received cues from the NASAMS Fire Distribution Center and used automated target cueing and a ‘full spectrum’ of EO/IR sensors to track, identify and quickly take down UAVs at tactically relevant distances, Raytheon stated.
Annabel Flores, president of EW systems at RI&S, claimed: ‘We’re showing the world that our defensive laser weapons can plug into existing air defences to find and drop drones in the blink of an eye.’
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