Boeing [BA] last week said it has delivered upgraded units of its Compact Laser Weapons System (CLWS) to a Defense Department customer providing it with greater capabilities to defeat larger and faster unmanned aircraft system (UAS) threats at longer range.
“The upgraded units will provide warfighters with enhanced protection against larger and more numerous hostile unmanned aircraft systems,” Kurt Sorenson, Boeing’s program manager for CWLS, said in a statement. “They will also enable them to defeat threats more quickly and efficiently.”
Boeing said that in a recent live fire drill of CLWS at the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona the DoD trainees operating the system defeated 12 out of 12 threats. The company also said that during a field test in September of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System, CLWS mounted on a small utility task vehicle successfully defended a force protection convoy against UASs.
“Operators continue to have great success using the system to acquire, track and defeat hostile targets with minimal training required,” Sorenson said.
Boeing originally developed the CLWS in 2012 followed by delivery to its first customer in 2014. The original system had capabilities against Group 2 UAS, which weigh between 21 and 55 pounds, but the upgraded units provide better protection against these threats, including reducing the sell time required to defeat a target, a company spokesman said.
Boeing didn’t name its DoD customer. The system is deployed operationally. Boeing expects to complete upgrades on the remaining CLWS units for delivery in the first quarter of 2021.