Raytheon Developing 100 kW Class Laser Weapon System for Integration Onboard U.S. Army FMTV Vehicles

Raytheon is developing a 100 kW class laser weapon system preliminary design for integration onboard the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

This is a $10 million U.S. Army’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstration (HEL TVD) program contract. HEL TVD, a U.S. Army science and technology demonstration program, is part of the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 initiative (IFPC Increment 2-I).

“The beauty of this system is that it’s self-contained,” said Roy Azevedo, vice president of Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business unit. “Multi-spectral targeting sensors, fiber-combined lasers, power and thermal sub-systems are incorporated in a single package. This system is being designed to knock out rockets, artillery or mortar fire, or small drones.”

Upon HEL TVD Program Option Two completion, the one supplier will be awarded a system development and demonstration contract by the Army to build and integrate a weapon system on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles. A System, Development and Demonstration contract decision, valued at nearly $130 million, is expected early in 2019.

High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD)

The High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program will provide a rugged, mobile solid state laser system that meets the size, weight and performance needs of the U.S. Army.

The Fires Center of Excellence defined the Army needs in the Capabilities Development Document for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 – Intercept. Future laser weapon systems will provide low-cost-per-engagement protection from rocket, artillery, mortar (RAM) and unmanned aerial system (UAS) threats.

The objective is to develop and mature laser technologies that will transition from technology development into engineering and manufacturing development.

In early fiscal year 2016, the Army directed the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMC/ARSTRAT) to develop a HEL demonstrator, called the “high energy laser tactical vehicle demonstrator,” as an Army capability enabler that would satisfy the requirements in the Capabilities Development Document for the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, Increment 2 – Intercept.

The high energy laser mobile test truck (HELMTT) currently has a 10-kilowatt fiber laser installed in it and has collected more than four terabytes of data on laser propagation in varying environments. HELMTT also participated in the fiscal year 2016 Maneuver Fires Center of Excellence-sponsored Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment, during which it shot down 15 Group 1 UAS targets. The HELMTT will conduct a lethality demonstration against a variety of RAM and UAS threats in fiscal year 2018.

HEL TVD will conduct a C-RAM and C-UAS demonstration in fiscal year 2022 that supports potential transition into the PEO Missiles and Space.

High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT)
Huntsville, Alabama: A picture of the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD, vehicle that conducted a series of tests from Nov. 18 through Dec. 10, 2013, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. POC – Mike Thorum (U.S. Army photo)

HEL weapons have the capability to engage numerous targets prior to recharging the power system, precise application of energy with a low probability of collateral damage, speed-of-light engagements, and a capability to provide responses resulting in lethal and non-lethal effects.

Since diesel or other fuel is the only consumable, the incremental cost-per-engagement is measured in the tens of dollars per engagement and could eliminate the requirement for Class V (munitions) storage and handling.

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