Laser & Microwave Weapons

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MAY 1, 2019
Raytheon shoots down drone with lasers, microwaves in Air Force test
By Ed Adamczyk


Dozens of drones were successfully brought down using guided lasers and microwaves from a movable platform aboard an all-terrain vehicle in a U.S. Air Force test. Photo courtesy of US. Air Force


May 1 (UPI) -- A U.S. Air Force exercise involving high-energy microwaves and guided lasers to shoot down drones was a success, contractor Raytheon announced.
Dozens of unmanned aerial targets were defeated in the tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., a Raytheon statement released on Tuesday said.

The event expanded on previous directed energy demonstrations, including a U.S. Army exercise in 2017 and a previous Air Force test in January.

The high energy laser system uses invisible beams of light to shoot down aerial targets, and the high-powered microwave bursts disrupt drone guidance systems. Its primary advantages are speed and a low cost per engagement. The weapons have been mounted on all-terrain vehicles specially made by Minnesota's Polaris Industries for the military.

"After decades of research and investment, we believe these advanced directed energy applications will soon be ready for the battlefield to help protect people, assets and infrastructure," said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president.

Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory have partnered on a $2 million contract to test and demonstrate high-power microwave and counter-UAV [unmanned aerial system] technologies.

Raytheon shoots down drone with lasers, microwaves in Air Force test
 

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US Army tests laser on Apache helicopter
By: Jen Judson  
June 26, 2017



WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army and Raytheon have completed a flight test of a high-energy laser system on an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter that was deemed successful, according to a Raytheon statement Monday.

The recent test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, "marks the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds," the company said.

Raytheon said the test achieved all primary and secondary goals that show a high-energy laser, or HEL, on an attack helicopter can provide high-resolution, multiband targeting sensor performance and beam propagation.


For the test, Raytheon coupled a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System — an advanced electro-optical infrared sensor — with a laser, according to the statement. The MTS provides targeting information, situational awareness and beam control.

The laser tracked and directed energy on "a number" of targets, Raytheon added.

The testing, according to the company, will also guide the future design of HEL systems from data collected related to vibration, dust and rotor downwash on laser beam control and steering.

"This data collection shows we're on the right track. By combining combat proven sensors, like the MTS, with multiple laser technologies, we can bring this capability to the battlefield sooner rather than later," Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concept and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, said in the statement.

Testing lasers on Apaches has been in the works for some time. U.S. Special Operations Command announced a year ago that it planned to test a laser weapon on an Apache.

Laser development across the Defense Department has kicked into high gear over the past several years as it seeks cheaper solutions to go up against threat targets rather than using expensive missiles. Putting a laser on an Apache that can take out targets would also increase the number of targets an Apache can take out in one mission. Currently, an Apache can hold 16 Hellfire missiles.


 

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US Army successfully demos laser weapon on Stryker in Europe
By: Jen Judson  
March 21, 2018


A MEHEL-equipped Stryker shot small UAS out of the sky using a 5-kW fiber laser over the weekend at Grafenwoehr training area in Germany. (C. Todd Lopez/Army News Service)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army successfully demonstrated a laser weapon integrated onto a Stryker combat vehicle in Europe over the weekend, but the service acknowledges range limitations there are holding back exercising its full capability and training.

Col. Dennis Wille, the Army G-3 strategic program chief for U.S. Army Europe, told an audience March 21 at the Booz Allen Hamilton Directed Energy Summit in Washington, that over the weekend the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment supported by the 7th Army Training Command and the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, conducted a live-fire engagement of the 5-kilowatt Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL) demonstrator at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany.

“The 2nd Cavalry troops successfully engaged a dozen commercial-off-the-shelf drones during this live event and all members of the team, from operators to acquisition, learned many valuable insights into how to conduct this training,” Wille said.

But while the demonstration was successful, in order to ensure proper range safety, all engagements had to be below-the-horizon, “which limits the realism embedded in the training,” Wille said.

“Above-the-horizon would have impacted aviation corridors for a few hundred kilometers around Grafenwoehr,” he added.

And due to the risk to eye safety, Wille said, the scenario was limited. “We recognize the need for a viable scenario where we can combine a live-fire engagement with other maneuver forces in the field,” he said.

The 2nd Cavalry and the 7th Army Training Command’s initial recommendations following the demonstration is to focus on developing high-fidelity simulation devices and software that allow for combined maneuver training while maintaining eye safe practices, according to Wille.
“Developing better simulation techniques will apply to all electronic warfare technologies and not just directed energy,” he noted.

And while the demonstration is still fresh, Wille said he anticipated there would be a quick push among NATO and other partner nations to work with the United States to develop better training range complexes in Europe that can accommodate directed energy weapon systems.

“This is extremely new and so I know that there will be many efforts to try and find locations where above-the-horizon becomes a standard place to do that,” Wille said. “Today there are not very many places on the planet where we can put this in a field environment where it is a standard capability instead of a new experimental capability so we have a lot to learn on that.”

It was just under two years ago that U.S. Army Europe identified gaps in electronic warfare capability in Europe and acknowledged the need to rapidly advance directed energy capability.

Not even a year after sending operational needs statements back to the Pentagon, the acquisition community began to deliver a small number of capabilities into the hands of assigned Brigade Combat Teams which immediately implemented them in field environments, according to Wille.
U.S. Army Europe has since learned many lessons on how to operate electronic warfare capabilities, to include directed energy, in Europe — primarily involving getting permission from host nations and figuring out how to operate in an electromagnetic spectrum used not just for military applications but for ordinary, every day civilian purposes, Wille said.

The MEHEL system will participate in the Joint Warfighting Assessment later this spring in Europe. It was first put to the test at Fort Sill where it knocked down 12 drone targets during the Manuever Fires Integrated Experiment in the spring of 2017.

Lasers on Stryker have a promising future. The Army is eyeing directed energy for a Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense capability for Stryker and is determining whether it canfield a laser weapon on a SHORAD system within five years.

Also in Europe is a counter-unmanned aircraft system capability — the C-UAS Mobile Integrated Capability or CMIC — that is a companion system to MEHEL, which defeats small, slow UAS through radio frequency directed energy rather than through lasers, according to Wille. It is also installed on a Stryker vehicle.

 

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Army Looks at Laser Weapons for 2025 Battlefield Use
By: Jen Judson   May 13, 2016


The HEL-MD is a laser system mounted on a standard Army heavy expanded mobility tactical truck (HEMETT). Still a demonstrator, it’s hoped the testing conducted at White Sands and other ranges will lead to a program of record.

WASHINGTON — Aiming specifically to determine how the High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck might help troops in the Army of 2025, the service’s weapon system participated in an exercise at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, conducted through the Fires Center of Excellence Battle Lab.

From April 11-19, the HELMTT program, which is managed by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command, was brought into the Excellence Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) and used to acquire, track, engage and destroy air and ground targets in "a simulated tactical environment" and demonstrated the Army's directed energy technology, according to a May 12 Army statement.

"We integrated HELMTT for the first time into an Army command and control network," said Adam Aberle, the SMDC technical center HELMTT demonstrator program manager. "We learned how a laser platform would operate in a relevant tactical environment."

Moving beyond just testing its capability, the Army is looking at "how to employ and develop the tactics, techniques and procedures of operating it and do mission planning," he added.

In the Fort Sill exercise, HELMTT tracked and engaged moving and still targets and destroyed small UAVs and static mortar rounds.

The program consists of a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck with a 10 kilowatt laser weapon.

According to the SMDC, it is also working to mount a 2 kilowatt laser weapon on a Stryker vehicle, called a Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser.

 

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Lasers in combat: New Space and Missile Defense commander on what's to come
By: Jen Judson  
May 9, 2017



WASHINGTON — The Army's future air-and-missile defense capabilities are taking shape under the newest Space and Missile Defense commander, Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, particularly in laser-armed combat vehicles and the Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense system (IAMD), both considered to be crucial enablers for the maneuver force.

How the Army will employ laser weapons in combat and what the IAMD system will look like are at a crossroads, with decisions on paths forward expected in the upcoming years. The SMDC is leading the Army's high-energy laser science and technology efforts that would provide the service with a low-cost, but effective complement to kinetic energy solutions to take out air threats.

The Army has long said it needs to develop interceptors that don't cost $1 million a shot to take out unsophisticated low-cost targets like small, unmanned aircraft systems.

"Now we’ve got something, quite frankly, that we used to see on TV and in cartoons, and it’s a reality with these high-energy lasers," Dickinson told Defense News in a recent interview.

The command has, very rapidly, affixed a 5-kilowatt laser on a Stryker combat vehicle, which has been successful in recent demonstrations, he said.
The Mobile Expeditionary High-Energy Laser (MEHEL) participated in the Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) 2016 with a 2-kilowatt laser and a 10-centimeter beam director strapped onto a Stryker. In a four-month period before MFIX 2017, a radar, an electronic warfare capability and fire support were also installed on the same Stryker and the laser was upgraded to 5 kw.

Earlier this spring, MEHEL went out to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and its full capability was put to the test. "I think we did fairly well out there and the results that we got out of it were very promising," Dickinson said.

Following the hard-kill challenge at White Sands, MEHEL returned to MFIX at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in the first half of April, where soldiers operated the system successfully, Dickinson added.

"Any time you develop a weapon system, you’ve got the materiel, the research and development piece, but in my mind what’s equally important is putting it in the hands of soldiers and having them demonstrate it," Dickinson said. "That is very powerful."

Getting a laser to work as an air defense weapon on a Stryker is a significant advancement from the Army’s previous endeavors to test lasers on huge truck like a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT).

The Army is also pushing to get a 100 kw laser on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) truck to move away from the very heavy and bulky HEMTT, which would be for the brigade and above.

Dickinson’s focus is to develop the capability for the brigade combat team.

"We want to provide a maximum defensive capability to the maneuver force, that is the core competency of an air and missile defender like me," he said. "So how do you take that and make sure it’s the most powerful it can be with the greatest capabilities... and can it fit on a common platform that the Army has. It doesn’t do us a lot of good, quite frankly, that big mobile test truck that we’ve got. It’s kind of cumbersome, not highly mobile. You can’t pull that off into the desert environment and hope that it won’t sink into the sand."

Meanwhile, the Army is on the cusp of deciding how it will achieve a 360-degree threat detection capability for its future IAMD system.
The service has long wrestled with when and how it will replace its current AMD system -- Raytheon’s Patriot -- first fielded in 1982. A request for information that was released in July 2016 indicated the Army had yet to decide whether it would procure a new radar or upgrade the current Patriot radar.

The Army’s deputy program executive officer for Army Missiles and Space, Col. Rob Rasch, told Defense News in February that the decision was just around the corner, due out possibly in the summer time frame.

"The Army is still assessing the path forward," conducting analysis and defining requirements, Dickinson said.

 

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Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid power system for laser weapons
By: Jen Judson  
10 May 2019


WASHINGTON — Rolls-Royce has been quietly developing an integral system required to operate laser weapons on the battlefield for about a decade in its LibertyWorks division, which is the company’s internal advanced technology unit based in Indianapolis.

But the company is ready to go public on the technology it has internally funded, having taken it through extensive testing, Mark Wilson, LibertyWorks’ chief operating officer, told Defense News in a May 9 interview.

That technology is an integrated power and thermal management system capable of powering a 100-kilowatt-class laser weapon, according to Wilson.

The system uses the company’s well-known M250 helicopter engine — that was used in the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter and is also found in the Little Bird and the AH-6i helicopters — which allows the system to generate roughly 300 kilowatts of electrical power and 200 kilowatts of thermal management capacity, Wilson said.

But the system is also considered hybrid as it combines a battery with the engine.

Rolls-Royce is “a power and propulsion company and so about 10 years ago, we started thinking more about electrification. You can see it in today’s hybrid cars, hybrid trains, same thing in marine applications,” Wilson said.

“We saw this capability of using a turbine engine and a battery combined to operate propulsion systems was potentially coming,” Wilson said, “so we started looking at electrification and then said, ‘Oh, there are also some unique opportunities when you look at what a directed-energy system needs. It needs a lot of power, it needs to be power dense and needs thermal technology as well and we are good at those types of capabilities.’”

The engine “allows us to have continuous operations as long as you have fuel available,” which leads to an endless magazine of laser shots, he said.
The battery allows “instantaneous power, so you don’t have to have the engine running all the time,” Wilson said. “You can start running on the battery and then switch over to the turbine engine once it’s up to speed.”

And the engine, when it’s running, can recharge the battery, he added.

The system is designed to fit inside the same vehicle as the laser weapon itself. Up until now, demonstrations of laser systems have focused on scaling and building up the technology of the weapon itself and so the services have used commercial off-the-shelf diesel generators and cooling systems that require a separate trailer.

“Our idea here is we want to package it in a size that can fit along with the laser system onto a vehicle, a type of a truck or eventually a ship or even eventually airborne, so the focus of our research is on developing that kind of capability that can go on an actual platform,” Wilson said.

To date, Rolls-Royce has done “quite a bit of work” in terms of designing, testing and modeling the system. The company plans to go through another round of testing beginning soon and lasting through the end of May and possibly into June.

That testing is in preparation for sending the system down to be field-tested this year with Lockheed Martin’s laser weapon system.
Lockheed Martin, partnered with Dynetics, is competing — head-to-head with Raytheon — to build a powerful 100-kilowatt laser for the U.S. Army, which pushes the envelope on directed-energy capability development.

The winner of the competition will integrate its laser system onto the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

And that is the size of truck that Rolls-Royce has its eye on for fitting its own power and thermal system.

But the company believes its technology is scaleable when it comes to powering different laser weapons and when it comes to the platform on which a laser weapon might find itself, Wilson said. That could be an Army vehicle, a naval vessel or a medium transport airlifter.

The Army, for instance, is testing laser weapons on a Stryker combat vehicle.

“Our goal is to develop technology for continuous operation,” Wilson said, but, “if the customer doesn’t need that and packaging is more important, we’ve got the tools now to be able to translate to other applications.”

The goal is for the services to see the utility of such a system because it will allow “customers to move past current low-power, low duty-cycle demonstrations by solving many of the difficult issues integrating high-power output with matching levels of thermal management,” Wilson said in a May 10 statement.

 

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US Army gets world record-setting 60-kW laser
By: Jen Judson   March 16, 2017


This story has been updated to include additional information from Radiance Technologies.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Army is taking delivery of a 60 kilowatt-class laser from Lockheed Martin as the company wraps up demonstrations of the capability.

"In testing earlier this month, the Lockheed Martin laser produced a single beam of 58kW, representing a world record for a laser of this type," the company said in a statement Thursday.

Now that the laser is in Army hands, Radiance Technologies, which has been working on Boeing's High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) program since 2012 will conduct laboratory testing of the new laser.

Once the laser is integrated onto the Army's Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, or HEMTT, that becomes the High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck. Radiance will coordinate all testing of the laser against targets.

The HEMTT is the largest vehicle in the Army inventory and previously a 10-kW laser was tested on the platform.
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The new laser is based on a design developed under the Department of Defense's Robust Electric Laser Initiative Program, as well as through investments into the 60 kW-class system by the company and the Army.

The Pentagon has made directed energy an important priority because military officials believe ultimately employing lasers will dramatically decrease the cost of firing shots. Missiles, rockets, artillery and mortars would ultimately cost far more than shooting with a laser, and with the proper power source, laser weapons would never run out of ammunition.

The delivery of the more powerful laser to the Army marks another important milestone in developing directed energy to be used as laser weapons on a variety of platforms.


The 10-kW specialized commercial-off-the-shelf welding laser on a HEMTT was tested between 2010 and 2014 in the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator program and shot down targets in flight, to include class 2 unmanned aircraft systems and 60mm mortars at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The less powerful laser was also tested at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, during a maneuver fires integration experiment last spring where the primary targets were class 1 quadcopter UAS as well as ground targets like simulated ground stations and ammunition points.

In 2015, the company used a 30-kW fiber laser weapon, known as ATHENA, to disable a truck from a mile away.

Lockheed is preparing to ship the 60-kW laser to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, Ala.

The more powerful laser brings together individual lasers "generated through fiber optics, to generate a single, intense laser beam," Lockheed explained, which allows for it to be scaled up in power by adding more fiber laser subunits.

"We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air," Robert Afzal, a senior fellow for Lockheed’s Laser and Sensor Systems business, said.

The laser system has "proved to be highly efficient in testing," the company stated, "capable of translating more than 43 percent of the electricity that powered it directly into the actual laser beam it emitted."

 

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Team Dynetics to supply 100kW class high energy laser demonstrator to U.S. Army
17 MAY 2019

Dynetics, along with its partners, has been awarded a $130 million contract to build and test the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program, a 100-kilowatt class laser weapon system.

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High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator

"High energy laser weapons have been a system that the United States has wanted to add into their defense portfolio since the invention of the laser. We are glad to be selected to build this new and safe weapon system that will provide a simple, yet cost-effective approach in theater," said Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics senior vice president of contracts.

Team Dynetics is bringing together more than 70 years of directed energy experience from known defense companies - Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and MZA Associates. As the prime contractor, Dynetics will be responsible for final assembly and integration and testing of the system. "We chose to partner with Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and MZA because they are very sophisticated and agile companies who each brought a particular skillset that was necessary for us to be successful. We knew how to match synergies and leverage their knowledge base while developing an accurate, well-defined strategy, in close collaboration with the Army, that could thwart the threat," Chronister added.

Lockheed Martin, as the laser weapon system integrator, will provide the laser weapon subsystem, optimizing the performance of the laser module, power and cooling systems, and operator interfaces. As a key member of Team Dynetics, Lockheed Martin will provide key support from Washington, Texas, and New Jersey. "We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with Dynetics and the United States Army in making laser weapons a battlefield reality," said Tyler Griffin, director of laser & sensor systems, Lockheed Martin. "Our research and development continue to reduce technical and operational risks, and those advancements will directly contribute to Team Dynetics delivering a ruggedized, safe, and effective demonstrator for the Army's HEL TVD program."

Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks will design the integrated power and thermal management system to successfully meet or exceed the requirements of the HEL TVD program. The design builds upon the successful internally funded programs that have demonstrated the technology and capability in this power class. The system will provide a high level of electrical power and thermal management required in a compact, power dense package with the responsiveness required for directed energy applications.

"Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks is proud to be a part of Team Dynetics for this important program with the U.S. Army. Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks has invested for many years to develop innovative integrated power and thermal management solutions and the HEL TVD program will allow us to provide this capability directly to the warfighter. Along with our partners, we are excited to be at the forefront in the rapidly maturing world of directed energy solutions," said Mark Wilson, chief operating officer, Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks.

The team successfully completed a preliminary design review. Government and industry representatives reviewed pages of technical documents and hardware. The government's evaluation concluded that the HEL TVD system approach is feasible and executable and that the overall risk of an unsuccessful integrated system demonstration is low.

Team Dynetics will move to the critical design review as soon as possible. The CDR phase will finalize the design prior to system fabrication, documenting how laser science has matured into an achievable warfighter reality. Long-lead material orders will commence during this time. Subsequently, the team will build and integrate the laser weapon system onto an Army family of medium tactical vehicle platform and conduct field testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico per SMDC's program plan.

The HEL TVD award was the final announcement for the SMDC Design, Development, Demonstration and Integration, or D31, Domain 1 for space, high altitude and missile defense capabilities. Dynetics was named an awardee in 2017, along with six other competitors, and advanced after completing the system requirements review in 2018.

https://www.armyrecognition.com/wea...h_energy_laser_demonstrator_to_u.s._army.html
 

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Air Force deploys B-52 missiles that could disable enemy military electronics with high-power microwaves
Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) missiles were built by the Boeing Phantom Works for Air Force researchers.

May 17th, 2019
Champ Missile 17 May 2019



WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – The U.S. Air Force has deployed at least 20 missiles that could zap the military electronics of North Korea or Iran with high-power microwaves, rendering their military capabilities virtually useless without causing any fatalities. The Daily Mail reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:
17 May 2019 --
The U.S. Air Force has deployed at least 20 missiles that could zap the military electronics of North Korea or Iran with high-power microwaves, rendering their military capabilities virtually useless without causing any fatalities.

Known as the Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), the missiles were built by Boeing's Phantom Works for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and tested successfully in 2012. They have not been operation until now.

The microwave weapons are fitted into an air-launched cruise missile and delivered from B-52 bombers. With a range of 700 miles, they can fly into enemy airspace at low altitude and emit sharp pulses of high power microwave (HPM) energy that fry computer chips to disable any electronic devices targeted by the missiles with causing any collateral damage.


 

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Stealthy USS Zumwalt land-attack destroyer to fire new missiles and laser weapons
Warship will shoot laser weapons, destroy moving targets at sea, and use upgraded interceptor missiles to track and knock-out approaching enemy fire.
May 16th, 2019
Uss Zumwalt 16 May 2019


NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The U.S. Navy’s stealthy new first-of-its kind destroyer surface warship will incinerate targets with lasers, fire advanced weapons to destroy moving targets at sea and use upgraded interceptor missiles to track and knock-out approaching enemy fire -- all as part of a broader strategic shift to prepare the high-tech ship for massive, “blue-water” maritime warfare on the open seas. Kris Osborn of Warrior Maven reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:
16 May 2019 --
The USS Zumwalt, now going through combat and weapons activation, will receive new Maritime Tomahawk missiles able to track and destroy moving targets at sea, SM-6 IA interceptors, long-range precision guns and -- quite likely in the very near future -- laser weapons, says Capt. Kevin Smith. the Zumwalt-class destroyer program manager.

“We are no longer what is called a land attack that operates in the littorals. We are now an offensive surface strike platform for blue water. The Navy made a decision to go that way - for good reason,” Smith said, speaking at the Navy League’s Annual Sea Air Space Symposium in National Harbor, Md.

The Zumwalt, he said, is engineered with the space, weight, and power configurations able to accommodate a new generation of weapons. It uses an electric drive with an integrated power system engineered to propel the ship as well as generate enormous volumes of on-board electrical power for computing, maintenance, and advanced weapons like high-energy lasers.


 

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Air Force test of SHiELD laser weapon indicates it is ready to shoot down incoming enemy missiles
May 6th, 2019

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. – U.S. Air Force officials say they were able to shoot enemy missiles out of the sky with a ground-based laser weapon that Air Force leaders plan to make small enough to fit aboard aircraft. Stars and Stripes reports.


Air Force test of SHiELD laser weapon indicates it is ready to shoot down incoming enemy  missiles

Air Force test of SHiELD laser weapon indicates it is ready to shoot down incoming enemy missiles

6 May 2019 -- The Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator Advanced Technology Demonstration Program, or SHiELD, conducted the tests on April 23, an Air Force Research Laboratory statement said Friday.

“The successful test is a big step ahead for directed energy systems and protection against adversarial threats,” said Maj. Gen. William Cooley, AFRL commander. “The ability to shoot down missiles with speed-of-light technology will enable air operation in denied environments.”

During thelaser weapon tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., the laser system engaged and shot down multiple air-launched missiles in flight. It was not immediately clear whether the laser system shot down the targets one after the other, or if they were downed individually in separate tests.

 

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THE US MILITARY IS OFFICIALLY ROLLING OUT ITS HELIOS LASER WEAPON

DAN ROBITZSKI

29 May 2019

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Upgrades Ready
The U.S. Navy just announced which ship will be first to be outfitted with HELIOS, a powerful anti-missile laser weapon.

In 2021, the USS Preble, a destroyer operating out of the Pearl Harbor naval base, will be equipped with the HELIOS, according to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the weapon will become the Navy’s go-to system for disabling any inbound cruise missiles launched by China and Russia.

Infinite Ammo
Right now, the Navy uses a Gatling gun called the Phalanx to shoot down missiles or drones, per The Honolulu. With a new laser system, the Navy hopes to improve its anti-drone and anti-missile capabilities.

“We are making the decision to put the laser on our [destroyers],” Ronald Buxall, the Navy’s director of surface warfare, told Defense News. “It’s going to start with Preble in 2021, and when we do that, that will now be her close-in weapon that we now continue to upgrade.”

Room For Improvement
Lockheed Martin, the company that developed the laser weapon, demonstrated that a 10-kilowatt laser can destroy drones and 30 kilowatts is enough to disable a truck, according to the newspaper.

The HELIOS system that will be attached to the USS Preble can fire at 60 kilowatts, according to The Honolulu, and the Navy expects to upgrade it to 150 kilowatts of power.

The US military is officially rolling out its HELIOS laser weapon
 

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U.S. Marines test vehicle-mounted laser for shooting down drones
June 19, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

View attachment 8276
The U.S. Marines are testing a vehicle-mounted laser weapon capable of shooting down drones, the branch announced on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Marines

June 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marines announced Wednesday that they are testing a portable, ground-based laser prototype for shooting down drones.

The Compact Laser Weapons System, or CLaWS, is the first ground-based directed energy weapon approved by the Defense Department. It will be evaluated for several months, with the aim of upgrading it to be included in fixed-site and other mobile situations.

Boeing Co. first announced the weapon in 2015. It is a portable device capable of using an invisible laser to take down targets several hundred meters away. It was designed to focus energy on a small enough spot to heat and destroy targets, including moving ones -- such as drones.

"Think of it like a welding torch being put on target but from many hundreds of meters away," Boeing engineer Isaac Neil said at the time of the introduction.

In 2018, Boeing expressed an interest in mounting the CLaWS on tactical vehicles, including the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle under development to replace the Humvee. The CLaWS comes in 2-, 5- and 10-kW variants and can be carried by two or more Marine personnel.

"One of the related aspects of the CLWS is that it's a counterintelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tool," said Jim Leary, Boeing director of weapons global sales. "You can shoot down enemy drones that might be observing friendly troops. That's the beauty of this laser."

 

Eagle1

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Britain enters laser weapons race
July 10, 2019
By Ed Adamczyk

View attachment 9316
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense announced a request on Tuesday for development of directed energy weapons, or laser weapons, for installation on military ships, air vehicles and ground vehicles. Photo courtesy of U.K. Ministry of Defense

July 10 (UPI) -- Britain's Ministry of Defense announced that it seeks developers of laser- and radio frequency-guided weapons to shoot down drones and other enemy threats.

The concept is not new. The United States first employed non-lethal lasers in military service in 2014, largely to disable enemy electrical sensors, and the United Kingdom spent $37 million on a laser prototype in 2017.

The announcement this week by the Ministry of Defense specifically calls for deployment of "high energy light beams to target and destroy enemy drones and missiles. Radio frequency weapons are designed to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics."

It asks for development of three new DEW [Directed Energy Weapons] to "explore the potential of the technology and accelerate its introduction onto the battlefield."

The new systems are expected to be tested by 2023, a statement on Tuesday said. The plan calls for lasers to be installed on ships and ground vehicles, with the capability of aiming them at targets to be destroyed. With no ammunition involved, and use of a generator or a vehicle's engine as a power source, operating costs could be low and "unprecedented flexibility on the front line" could be available.

Several countries are actively involved in the development of laser weaponry. In June, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it is testing a vehicle-mounted, ground-based laser prototype for shooting down drones.

 

Scorpion

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This is only effective against drones and maybe projectiles. I do not think it will do any good against missiles.
 

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