Back in August, Lockheed Martin delivered a 60-kilowatt high-energy laser with an Integrated Optical Dazzle and Surveillance System (HELIOS) to the US Navy. The HELIOS system will be integrated into existing warships to provide a directed energy capacity.
The multi-mission system is expected to provide a “tactically relevant” laser weapon system combat capability as “a key element of a layered defense architecture.” It also provides additional protection during dangerous naval missions.
“Lockheed Martin and the US Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and delivering disruptive laser weapon systems,” explained Rick Cordaro, a company spokesman, adding that the HELIOS system “represents a strong foundation for the incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”
The company said its HELIOS system not only provides directed energy capability, but also supports long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Its low cost-per-kill precision response enables US Navy fleets to deal with emerging threats.
In 2021, the US Navy said it would test the HELIOS system for permanent deployment of craft to counter drones and fast attack craft.
“HELIOS leverages the technology building blocks of significant, long-term in-house research and development projects that continue to advance the Navy’s goal of deploying surface shipborne laser weapon systems and putting the Navy on the right side. of the cost curve for threat engagements,” Lockheed stated.
As if that were not enough, and as part of this commitment by the company and the United States Army to this technology, Lockheed Martin also delivered the smallest airborne laser weapon system ever built to the Air Force. Although the reception would have taken place in February, it was made public in July.
The Next Generation Laser Advances for Compact Environments (LANCE) will be the first laser weapon mounted on a tactical aircraft to counter aerial threats such as aircraft, surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles.
The subsystems have been developed as part of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Self-Protecting High-Energy Laser Demonstration Project, with prototype testing planned for 2024.