Power of Laser Weapon Increases to 300kW
The Army selects General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Boeing to manufacture highest solid state high energy laser weapon system so far.
The U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, or RCCTO, has selected General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing to produce a 300 kilowatt-class solid state distributed gain high energy laser weapon system. Work under the contract will be performed in San Diego and Albuquerque.
RCCTO is pursuing the effort to demonstrate the laser weapon’s power and design, which could be vehicle or ground mounted.
Boeing will supply and integrate the laser beam director and the associated precision acquisition, tracking and pointing software while GA-EMS will provide the scalable distributed gain laser technology.
“We’re excited to take the next step in delivering this critical capability to the Army,” said Cindy Gruensfelder, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Missile and Weapon Systems division. “Our joint offering will leverage proven, deployed technologies to provide an industry-leading solution on an accelerated timeline.”
“The high power, compact laser weapon subsystem prototype that GA-EMS will deliver under this contract will produce a lethal output greater than anything fielded to date,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “This technology represents a leap-ahead capability for air and missile defense that is necessary to support the Army’s modernization efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multidomain battlespace.”
The 300kW laser is the military’s highest advertised laser size so far. The so-called distributed gain laser, a liquid-based laser, is different than the 50-150 kW fiber laser solutions the military has pursued so far. The distributed gain lasers offer lower size, weight and power considerations, which allows the systems to be scaled for a more powerful laser beam.
According to Michael Perry, vice president for lasers and advanced sensors, GA-EMS, the laser will be a packaged version of the company’s seventh generation distributed gain lase design that the company has already demonstrated.
“The laser system employs two Gen 7 laser heads in a very compact and lightweight package,” Perry said. “Recent architectural improvements have enabled our single-beam DG Lasers to achieve comparable beam quality to fiber lasers in a very simple design without the need for beam combination.”