Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) Defends Convoy Against Drones During ABMS Field Test

Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) successfully defended a force protection convoy against drones during the Sept. 3 field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

CLWS was developed to provide cost-effective, precision air defense capabilities for warfighters against unmanned aircraft systems (UAVs).

Throughout the future battlefield exercise, the CLWS system, which was mounted on Marine Corps’ Utility Task Vehicle (UTV), transmitted live video and readings on the threats, as well as various elements of the convoy, to operators at Andrews AFB, Maryland – providing them with both real-time situational awareness and remote operating capabilities. During the scenario, CLWS received a target cue through the network and defeated a simulated unmanned aircraft vehicle.

“In a future scenario, an integrated and networked direct energy capability – as demonstrated in this exercise by CLWS – would provide operators with vital information and a means to respond to threats at greater speeds,” said Ron Dauk, program manager of Boeing’s Laser & Electro-Optical Systems.

“The ABMS exercise is further proof of Boeing’s combat-ready capabilities,” said Robert Green, director of Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “Military operators continue to have great success with our systems with only minimal training.”

According to Boeing, this laser system is one of the latest examples of a new technology that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) sees as integral to the interconnected battlefield of the not-so-distant future.

ABMS is the Air Force’s concept for joint all-domain operations – the future of integrated data sharing between all U.S. service branches across the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. Once implemented, the system will enable everything from autonomous systems and piloted aircraft to ground vehicles and troops to share information via a cloud-based network to detect and respond to threats faster and more efficiently.

Boeing claimed that it is “well-positioned to serve as a key industry partner for the Air Force in directed energy and on the future battlefield”. As part of its efforts to accelerate the integration of new technologies to implement ABMS, the Air Force awarded Boeing a development contract in June to compete for individual task orders through 2025.

Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) at ABMS field test
Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) participating at the second field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada on Sept. 3, 2020. Screengrab from Boeing Video.

Boeing Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS)

Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) is a modular, high energy laser system that provides proven air defense capabilities against unmanned aircraft systems. It is the first ground-based laser approved by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for use by warfighters.

CLWS’ versatile design enables it to be transported and operated by a single warfighter and configured for mobile use on an array of combat vehicles – providing superior flexibility to support readiness in any environment.

According to the company, The system is deployed in theater with a track record of more than 300 drones defeated in dozens of demonstrations, scenarios and environments.

Boeing Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS)
Boeing Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS). Photo credit: Boeing.
Boeing Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS)
A graphic representation of Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) in action. Photo credit: Boeing.
CLWS mounted on a Utility Task Vehicle
Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) mounted on a Utility Task Vehicle. Photo credit: Boeing.



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