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General Atomics Developing Lightweight Laser Weapon

July 21, 2011
By George Seffers

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated recently announced that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded the company a contract for development of the complete Demonstrator Laser Weapon System (DLWS) for the agency's High Energy Liquid Laser Defense System (HELLADS) program. The contract award follows the successful development and test of the company's HELLADS weapon class unit cell under a previous contract. The HELLADS laser concept combines the high-storage density of solid-state with the efficient heat removal of flowing liquids. The HELLADS program seeks to demonstrate a 150-kilowatt laser weapon that weighs less than 2,000 pounds and could be mounted to military platforms as small as patrol ships, fighter and surveillance aircraft, armored combat vehicles, and perhaps even unmanned aircraft.