The U.S. Navy just awarded Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract, which can go up to $942.8 million in options, to develop, manufacture and deliver two high-powered laser weapon systems by 2020. The laser systems will be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and counter-UAS purposes. Not only are these new lasers built to take down drones, but they can also take out small boats.
Photo credit: dvids. The guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) transits the Chesapeake Bay on its way back into port. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class RJ Stratchko/Released)
Gunning down drones can be inefficient, so Lockheed Martin’s High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) system was designed as a military-grade defense weapon for surface ships. One unit will be delivered to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, while the other unit will be used for land testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The HELIOS system is created to be a high-energy laser system, a counter-UAS dazzler and a long-range ISR capable data collector.
According to Military.com, Ian Mckennie, Lockheed’s business development leader for laser systems, said,” The Primary targets are small boats and, even more importantly, small drones.”