Lockheed Martin has received first light from the Directed Energy Interceptor for Manoeuvre Short-Range Air Defence (M-SHORAD) System (DEIMOS) during a recently conducted laser lab demonstration.

The demonstration was conducted to assess and validate the optical performance of the laser in line with required design parameters of the system.

According to the company, first light is used to measure the weapon system’s expected beam quality to test end-to-end performance of Lockheed Martin’s low-cost Spectral Beam Combination (SBC) architecture.

SBC is primarily used for controlling the power while simultaneously retaining the beam quality of individual fibre lasers.

The latest milestone further signifies that the 50kW-class DEIMOS can fulfil the requirements of the US Army’s modernisation strategy.

Lockheed Martin is maturing this tactical laser weapon system to deliver enhanced directed energy capabilities for the US Army’s M-SHORAD mission. It can be attained by integrating DEIMOS into the service’s Stryker armoured combat vehicle.

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The US Army’s directed energy M-SHORAD mission aims to develop and provide a manoeuvrable laser weapon system for deterring airborne threats such as rockets, artillery and mortars, uncrewed aerial systems, and rotary-wing aircraft.

Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions vice-president Rick Cordaro said: “DEIMOS has been tailored from our prior laser weapon successes to affordably meet the army’s larger modernisation strategy for air and missile defence and to improve mission success with 21st century security solutions.” 

In the next steps, the company is planning to expand the DEIMOS test programme this year, with completion of the associated integration tests expected by 2024.

The M-SHORAD prototyping effort is being led by the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.

In 2024, the programme is scheduled to transition to Programme Executive Office Missiles & Space.