Air Force to deploy ground-based laser weapons in one of the first field tests of directed-energy weapons

Laser weapons fire constantly without wasting ammunition, and one day could counter small, remotely operated quadcopter drones that ISIS has used.

Laser Weapon Raytheon 5 Aug 2019

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – The U.S. Air Force announced Friday it will soon deploy two ground-based laser weapons to an undisclosed location to test how they perform against small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) -- the service's first field test of an experimental directed-energy weapon. Stars and Stripes reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

5 Aug. 2019 -- The 10-kilowatt High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS) are to be mounted on small ground vehicles and aimed using an interface similar to a video game controller. The prototype laser weapons are from Raytheon and use commercial electronic components like high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

On Friday afternoon the Air Force announced a $23 million sole-source contract to the Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems segment in McKinney, Texas, for two HELWS laser weapons, through which the systems are to be tested for 12 months in an undisclosed "contested environment" outside the continental U.S.

Because laser weapons could fire constantly without wasting ammunition, military technology experts have theorized they could one day be useful in combatting the small, remotely operated quadcopter drones that ISIS has used. Ground-based laser weapons also are expected to be an effective counter against swarming attack drones, a concept that a handful of countries are exploring.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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