U.S. Air Force Research Lab’s HADES Laser Weapon Demonstrator Completes Field Testing

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)’s unique laser weapon demonstrator called the High-power Adaptive Directed Energy System, or HADES, completed field testing in 2019.

The HADES technology was conceived by Nutronics, Inc., a small business in Longmont, Colo. that won Phase I, II and III contracts with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) through the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program including special contracts through the Commercialization Readiness Program. Between 2011 and 2019, the Nutronics team invented, developed, tested, and delivered the HADES directed energy weapon demonstrator to the Air Force.

“HADES technology was designed with the warfighter in mind,” said the AFRL program manager Dan Marker. “The system works by combining a large number of high power fiber lasers in a fashion that corrects for distortions caused by the atmosphere. This gives the warfighter a long-range high power laser weapon.”

“The HADES concept is generic,” said Marker. “The technology can apply to any type of mission or military platform. The system can be adapted to different power levels for use in a severely turbulent atmosphere or on missions that require high speed compensation such as the effects of air flowing over an aircraft turret.”

“The field tested concept produced super resolution distortion free images, and provided atmospheric data needed to pre-compensate a projected laser beam,” Marker said. “This type of technology is critical to the performance of a laser weapon system.”

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