Raytheon releases details of Air Force’s advanced laser system contract
U.S. weapons maker Raytheon Co on Monday has released details of the contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop and supply two prototypes of High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS).
The deal worth $23,8 million and covers the deployment of two prototype High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS) to troops overseas under a U.S. Air Force contract. The Air Force experimentation includes 12 months of in-field operation against unmanned aerial systems and operator training.
Raytheon’s HELWS uses pure energy to detect, identify and instantly take down drones. It can target a single drone with precision. The HELWS is paired with Raytheon’s Multi-spectral Targeting System. It uses invisible beams of light to defeat hostile UASs. Mounted on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle, the system detects, identifies, tracks and engages drones.
“Every day, there’s another story about a rogue drone incident,” said Stefan Baur, vice president of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems. “These threats aren’t going away, and in many instances, shooting them with a high energy laser weapon system is the most effective and safest way to bring them down.”
The contract follows successful demonstrations of Raytheon’s directed energy systems for the Air Force and the U.S. Army.
The new laser system would receive a signal from a separate sensor scanning the environment, and then acquire and positively identify the target. A human operator would be responsible for verifying the information provided by the sensor system and then ultimately firing the laser.