08 Sep 2014
Latest demonstrations prove laser system’s effectiveness in maritime environment.High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) in maritime conditions, successfully targeting a variety of aerial targets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Dave DeYoung, Boeing Directed Energy Systems director, commented, “Under windy, rainy and foggy weather conditions in Florida, these engagements were the most challenging to date with a 10-kilowatt laser on HEL MD.
In these recent demonstrations, HEL MD used a 10kW, high energy laser installed on an Oshkosh tactical military vehicle. The demonstrator is the first mobile, high-energy laser, counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) platform to be built and demonstrated by the U.S. Army.
DeYoung added, “With capabilities like HEL MD, Boeing is demonstrating that directed energy technologies can augment existing kinetic strike weapons and offer a significant reduction in cost per engagement. With only the cost of diesel fuel, the laser system can fire repeatedly without expending valuable munitions or additional manpower.”
Throughout the two series of demonstrations, Boeing achieved all performance objectives on schedule, successfully engaging more than 150 aerial targets including 60mm mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The next step will be to install a 50 or 60kW laser on HEL MD to demonstrate counter RAM and UAV capability at this tactically significant power level.
The following video shows some highlights of the laser weapon testing program in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, USA:
About the Author
Matthew Peach is a contributing editor tooptics.org.