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Lockheed delivers ‘Multi-Mission Laser Weapon’ to U.S. Navy

Lockheed Martin has delivered a 60+ kW-class high-energy laser to the U.S. Navy, the first tactical laser weapon system to be integrated into existing ships and “provide directed energy capability to the fleet”.

“Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and providing disruptive laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions.

“HELIOS enhances the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for Sailors, and we understand we must provide scalable solutions customized to the Navy’s priorities. HELIOS represents a solid foundation for incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”

Laser weapon systems have tracked and detected targets, including small rockets, boats, UAVs, and trucks, with high fidelity and maintenance of the laser beam with enough time to eliminate the target.

Lockheed says here that HELIOS is a “transformational new weapon system providing an additional layer of protection for the fleet with its deep magazine, low-cost per kill, speed of light delivery and precision response”.

What’s the UK doing?

Dragonfire, the UK’s Laser Directed Energy Programme (LDEW) led by MBDA, has successfully begun a series of trials to prove the accuracy and power of the novel laser weapon.

MBDA say here that the first of these trials recently conducted by the Dragonfire consortium – a joint industry and Ministry of Defence collaboration between MBDA, Leonardo, QinetiQ and Dstl – at low power proved the system “can successfully track air and sea targets with exceptionally high accuracy”.

“This success has paved the way for the next phase of the trials that will deliver a first for UK industry when carrying out a static high power laser trial, while maintaining aimpoint accuracy. The next step would then look to combine the outcomes of these two trials, pairing the recently proven tracking accuracy and the high power laser, by engaging targets in operationally representative scenarios.”