A team formed between General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing has secured a contract to develop a ‘distributed gain high-energy laser weapon system’.

The contract has been awarded by the US Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.

It will see the team deliver a 300kW-class solid-state distributed gain laser, which features an integrated Boeing beam director.

The contract is aimed at demonstrating the design of the laser weapon system prototype.

Both GA-EMS and Boeing will use their respective expertise in ‘Directed Energy’ to provide troops with safe and efficient combat-ready protection.

GA-EMS noted that the laser system will use the company’s scalable ‘distributed gain laser’ technology combined with precision acquisition, tracking, and pointing software offered by Boeing.

Together, the companies will provide a full demonstrator with ‘sophisticated laser and beam control’.

GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “The high power, compact laser weapon subsystem prototype that GA-EMS will deliver under this contract will produce a lethal output greater than anything fielded to date.

“This technology represents a leap-ahead capability for air and missile defence that is necessary to support the army’s modernisation efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multi-domain battlespace.”

According to GA-EMS lasers and advanced sensors vice-president Michael Perry, the laser is a packaged version of the seventh generation of the company’s Distributed Gain Design, which had already been demonstrated.

Perry said that the laser system features two laser heads and comes in a lightweight package.

Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems division vice-president and general manager Cindy Gruensfelder said: “We’re excited to take the next step in delivering this critical capability to the army.

“Our joint offering will leverage proven, deployed technologies to provide an industry-leading solution on an accelerated timeline.”