Laser weapon systems moved a step closer to reality with the award of an $11 million contract to Raytheon Company. Under an Office of Naval Research program, Raytheon will develop a vehicle-based laser device capable of defeating low-flying threats such as enemy drones.
The Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD) Directed Energy On-the-Move Future Naval Capabilities program calls for a field demonstration of a Humvee-mounted short-range laser weapon system with a minimum power output of 25kW. The Raytheon-built laser will be packaged to meet the U.S. Marine Corps' demanding size, weight and power requirements.
"Raytheon's laser solution generates high power output in a small, light-weight rugged package ideally suited for mobile platforms," said Bill Hart, vice president of Raytheon Space Systems.
Raytheon's planar waveguide (PWG) technology is the key to its unique approach to high energy lasers. Using a single PWG, the size and shape of a 12 inch ruler, Raytheon high energy lasers generate sufficient power to effectively engage small aircraft.
"Our PWG laser architecture is scalable: We can achieve increasingly higher power levels with the same compact design we're using for GBAD," Hart said. "Raytheon is paving the way for fielded directed energy weapon systems in the very near future with the demonstration of a Marine Humvee-based high energy laser."
Raytheon Company, with 2013 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 92 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass.