Site icon Wonderful Engineering

The U.S Navy Has Taken Delivery Of The First Ever Tactical Laser Weapon By Lockheed Martin

The era of ray gun has arrived as the US Navy has taken delivery of a near-operational high-energy tactical laser weapon called the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system from Lockheed Martin that can be installed in existing warships.

The first laser was invented by Theodore Maiman at the Hughes Research Lab in Malibu, California, in 1960. It was a huge leap for military equipment.

Developing a practical laser weapon proved to be more complex than what the scientists had anticipated. Today, the development of solid-state lasers based on coils of fiber optic cables doped with exotic elements like yttrium has finally moved the laser weapon from the laboratory to the battlefield.

The HELIOS 60-plus-kW-class multirole laser weapon will not just be launched as a test. In fact, it will be an operational tactical system that can be fully integrated into ship operations and can be scaled to meet mission requirements. HELIOS is able to project a beam at the speed of light against multiple targets for about a dollar a shot, not counting equipment costs, and has an unlimited supply of ammunition as long as the power is available.

HELIOS is different from other laser technology because it cannot only be used to destroy targets, it can also dazzle optical sensors and the reflected beam can gather long-range data for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications. According to Lockheed, this makes HELIOS a key element of a layered defense architecture for fleet protection.

“Lockheed Martin and the US Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and providing disruptive laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions. “HELIOS enhances the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for sailors, and we understand we must provide scalable solutions customized to the Navy’s priorities. HELIOS represents a solid foundation for incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”