Lockheed Martin unveils plans to develop new class of 500kW laser weapon
Lockheed Martin has announced plans to upscale its 300kW laser to 500kW class under a contract awarded by the US Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD (R&E)), a follow on to a contract from the same organisation for developing a smaller version.
The new contract is described by the company as the second phase of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI) which aims to increase the laser’s power level while achieving better beam quality and optimising efficiency, size, weight and volume for the continuous-wave high energy laser sources.
An artists' concept of Lockheed Martin's 500 kW-class laser for HELSI. (Image: Lockheed Martin)
In a statement the company said ‘the 500kW-class laser will be tactically configured, utilise the beam combined architecture to support military platforms, and incorporate DoD Modular Open System Approach standards to ensure the systems interoperability and multi-mission integration.’
Earlier in July was awarded an agreement with a ceiling of $220.8 million to develop, integrate, manufacture, test, and deliver Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) prototype weapon systems. These are being developed as land-based mobile systems to protect defence sites against UAS, mortar, missile and rocket attacks.
In September 2022 the company said it had delivered ‘a tactically relevant electric 300kW-class laser to OUSD (R&E) [and it is] ready to integrate with the DoD demonstration efforts including the IFPC-HEL demonstrator laser weapon system.’
The OUSD (R&E) selected Lockheed Martin in 2019 to scale its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300 kW-class level as part of HELSI.
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