By John H. Cummings (SMDC/ARSTRAT)December 11, 2013
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. -- The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command for the first time used a vehicle mounted high energy laser to successfully engage more than 90 mortar rounds and several unmanned aerial vehicles in flight.
This occurred during multiple test events of the Army High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator conducted between Nov. 18 and Dec. 10 at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility, White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
This was the first full-up demonstration of the HEL MD in the configuration that included the laser and beam director mounted in the vehicle. A surrogate radar (Enhanced Multi Mode Radar) supported the engagement by queuing the laser.
The HEL MD is being developed to show directed energy force protection capabilities against rockets, artillery, mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. The HEL MD program is managed by SMDC's Technical Center.
Mortars travel at low velocities for short ranges in high-arching trajectories. These weapons as well as UAVs, are representative of the threat encountered by U.S. and allied forces on the battlefield.
Initial system effectiveness was proven through low and medium power test demonstration that took place in 2011. High power testing is now concluded at HELSTF. The demonstration and testing confirms the capability of a mobile solid state laser weapon system to counter mortars, UAV's, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors mounted on the UAVs.
The recent testing utilized a 10 kW class laser. In the future, a 50 kW class laser will be integrated into the HEL MD platform. The 50 kW laser is scheduled to be upgraded to a 100 kW class laser in subsequent demonstrations. The supporting thermal and power subsystems will be also upgraded to support the increasingly powerful solid state lasers. These upgrades increase the effective range of the laser or decrease required lase time on target.
The Boeing Company is the prime contractor for the HEL MD program.
USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs Media Contact:
John Cummings, 256-955-1641