Boeing has received the beam director assembly for the US Army’s high-energy laser technology demonstrator (HEL TD) programme from Integrated Optical Systems Brashear, a division of L-3 Communications.
The beam director will be assembled with the remaining beam control system hardware at the company’s facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The beam control system incorporates mirrors, high-speed processors and high-speed optical sensors to receive the laser beam from HEL TD and reshape it accordingly to track and select the target.
Laser weapon technology is highly anticipated as a next generation of weaponry, capable of providing an ultra-precision, speed-of-light capability that will be able to counter rocket, artillery and mortar projectiles.
Boeing Directed Energy Systems vice-president Mike Rinn said that testing will begin early in 2011 against real targets at White Sands Missile Range.
“Using a low-power surrogate for the high-energy laser, we will demonstrate the transformational capability of this system and its potential for the battlefield,” he said.
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The solid-state laser weapon system will be integrated with an Oshkosh heavy expanded mobility tactical truck (HEMTT), which will then be fitted to a high-energy laser that can destroy real targets.