Boeing to conduct high-power testing of US Army HEL TD system

7 October 2012 (Last Updated October 7th, 2012 18:30)

Boeing has been awarded a follow-on contract for continuing the production of a truck-mounted directed energy system as part of the US Army's high energy laser mobile demonstrator (HEL MD) programme.

Boeing has been awarded a follow-on contract for continuing the production of a truck-mounted directed energy system as part of the US Army's high energy laser mobile demonstrator (HEL MD) programme.

Awarded by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC), the undisclosed HEL MD Phase II high-power testing contract covers design, development and testing of a 10kW solid-state laser beam for a three year period.

"The Boeing HEL MD programme is applying the best of solid-state laser technology to ensure the army has speed-of-light capability to defend against rockets, artillery, mortars, and unmanned aerial threats, both today and into the future."

The company will also install the laser on a heavy expanded mobility tactical truck for field tests, scheduled to take place in 2013, to highlight its capabilities to acquire, track and destroy a wide range of threat-representative targets.

Boeing Directed Energy Systems vice president and programme director Mike Rinn said the high power testing marked a significant milestone for the system.

"The Boeing HEL MD programme is applying the best of solid-state laser technology to ensure the army has speed-of-light capability to defend against rockets, artillery, mortars, and unmanned aerial threats, both today and into the future," Rinn added.

Boeing HEL MD programme manager Blaine Beardsley added: "Phase II will allow us to build on the great work we have accomplished over the past several years with SMDC."

The contract also features an option for installation of a powerful laser beam, to lower the associated risk for future high-power laser integration.

Boeing completed HEL TD low-power system testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US, in June 2011, which successfully demonstrated the system's ability to identify, track and defeat moving projectiles.

Upon completion, HEL MD will be an advanced system featuring a ruggedised high energy laser and subsystems installed aboard tactical vehicle to prevent the forward operating bases, air bases and other military facilities against counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) threats.