Boeing’s vehicle-mounted 10-kW class laser recently engaged more than 90 mortar rounds and several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in flight, the US Army has announced.
Testing of the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), conducted by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)/Army Forces Strategic Command, took place between Nov. 18 and Dec. 10 at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility in White Sands. It represented the first demonstration of the HEL MD in the configuration that included the laser and beam director mounted in the vehicle, the Army said. A surrogate radar (Enhanced Multi Mode Radar) system supported the engagement by queuing the laser.
The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) successfully engaged more than 90 mortar rounds and several unmanned aerial vehicles in flight during testing between Nov. 18 and Dec. 10 at White Sands Missile Range. The HEL MD program is managed by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Technical Center and Boeing is the prime contractor.
The HEL MD is being developed to defend against rockets, artillery, mortars, UAVs and cruise missiles and is managed by SMDC’s Technical Center. Low- and medium-power tests took place in 2011 and showed initial effectiveness of the system, and the demonstration and testing at high-power levels “confirms the capability of a mobile solid-state laser weapon system to counter mortars, UAVs, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors mounted on the UAVs,” the Army said.
Although the recent test system by prime contractor Boeing was equipped with a 10-kW class laser, in the future, a 50-kW class laser will be integrated into the HEL MD platform. The latter laser eventually will be upgraded to 100 kW, along with the supporting thermal and power subsystems. These upgrades increase the effective range of the laser or decrease required lase time on target.