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GA-EMS and Boeing developing 300kW laser weapon for US Army

29 Oct 2021

Prototype will feature laser from GA and beam director from Boeing.

A joint team from military and aerospace systems developers General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing has been awarded a U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) contract to develop a 300kW-class solid state Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System.

The partners are working towards delivery of a 300 kW-class distributed gain laser with an integrated Boeing beam director. The objective of this contract is a demonstration of the design.

Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS, commented, “The high power, compact laser weapon subsystem prototype that GA-EMS will deliver under this contract will produce a lethal output greater than anything fielded to date.”

“This technology represents a leap-ahead capability for air and missile defense that is necessary to support the Army’s modernization efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multi-domain battlespace,” he added.

Combined expertise

The partnership combines both companies’ expertise in directed energy to deliver what they describe as “best-in-class, combat-ready protection for the warfighter with unmatched speed, performance, safety and affordability.”

Specifically, the planned system will leverage GA-EMS’ scalable Distributed Gain Laser technology with Boeing’s beam director and precision acquisition, tracking and pointing software to provide a complete demonstrator with sophisticated laser and beam control.

Dr. Michael Perry, vice president for lasers and advanced sensors at GA-EMS describes the laser as “a packaged version of the seventh Generation of our Distributed Gain Design already demonstrated. The laser system employs two Gen 7 laser heads in a compact and lightweight package. Recent architectural improvements have enabled our single-beam DG Lasers to achieve comparable beam quality to fiber lasers in a very simple design without the need for beam combination.”

Cindy Gruensfelder, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Missile and Weapon Systems division, said, “We’re excited to take the next step in delivering this critical capability to the Army. Our joint offering will leverage proven, deployed technologies to provide an industry-leading solution on an accelerated timeline.”

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