With the solid-state high-energy lasers already being tested on the sea and in the air, Boeing is continuing development of a truck-mounted system. The system is similar in concept to Boeing’s Laser Avenger that is intended for combating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but boasts a more powerful laser for countering a wider variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, as well as UAVs.
Testing in 2009 of the Laser Avenger used a 1-kilowatt, solid-state laser system mounted on an Avenger ground combat vehicle, but the truck-mounted system will see a 10-kilowatt, solid-state laser incorporated with the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) system. Boeing says there is also the option of incorporating an even more powerful laser in the future.
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A joint development effort between Boeing and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC), the HEL MD program will now enter Phase II high-power testing as part of a follow-on contract that supports development and testing for the next three years. Field tests using the high-power, solid-state laser will be conducted over the next year to demonstrate the system’s ability to “acquire, track, damage and defeat threat-representative targets.”