Navy scraps anticipated program to develop prototype laser weapons for helicopter operations at sea

RIDGECREST, Calif., 14 Aug. 2014. U.S. Navy laser weapons experts say they are scrapping a plan to develop a high-energy laser weapon for manned and unmanned helicopters to perform a variety of military operations at sea.

Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake Naval Weapons Station in Ridgecrest, Calif., announced Tuesday that they are cancelling -- at least for the time being -- the anticipated High Energy Fiber Laser industry competition to develop a prototype laser weapon for demonstrations aboard a Navy helicopter.

No reasons for the program cancellation were given in an industry announcement released Tuesday. "Should the Government choose to advertise this opportunity in the future, a new synopsis will be issued," the announcement says.

Related: Navy to ask industry to develop laser weapon prototype for deployment on helicopters

Navy officials announced a plan on 28 July to issue a formal solicitation later this month for the High Energy Fiber Laser program, which was to develop and demonstrate prototype integrated high-energy laser weapon subsystems for installation in a helicopter for airborne laser weapon demonstrations.

Industry officials had expected a request for proposals by about 18 Aug., with a contract award for the program before the end of the year.

The solicitation was to call for bids to complete the High Energy Fiber Laser integration structure, design, building, testing, and qualifying hardware necessary to build the system.

Related: Navy takes closer look at helicopter laser sea mine detection system before full-scale production decision

The contract also was to call on the winning company to perform qualification testing, providing drawings, install the prototype system, develop test procedures, and provide system support.

Email questions or concerns to the Navy's Jonas Kidd at jonas.kidd@navy.mil or to Steven Shultz at steven.shultz@navy.mil.

More information on the program and its cancellation is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/NAVAIR/N68936D1/N6893614R0123/listing.html.

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