Booz Allen Hamilton [BAH] on Monday announced the creation of a new subsidiary that leverages the company’s legacy technical and systems integration expertise in directed energy (DE) and high energy laser (HEL) weapon systems to bring new products to bear for its defense customers.

The launch of HELworks particularly builds on Booz Allen’s own significant investments in research and development the past five years on specific capabilities and products, including the Modular Compact High Energy Laser (MCHEL), which was delivered early this summer to a warfighter customer for operational test and evaluation, Joe Shepherd, president and CEO of HELworks, told Defense Daily

last Friday.

The MCHEL is more than just a research and development effort, he said.

“I think consistent with what you’re seeing across the services, there’s rapid, fieldable prototypes that are being handed to the warfighter, and those are turning into more sustained efforts and ideally, ultimately programs of record across the services,” Shepherd said.

The MCHEL is packed into 10 boxes, none weighing more than 170 pounds, all fitting into a mid-size pickup truck and can be moved and assembled by two people, HELworks said. The system is designed for precision strike, “static-on-static ground engagements,” with firing times up to a minute at up to 12 kw of power, the company said.

HELworks is headquartered in Fredericksburg, Va., where it has a design and development facility for rapid prototyping and integration of HEL systems.

The business also has a 15,000 square foot facility in Knoxville, Tenn., that Shepherd described as a “world class R&D, testing, prototyping and integration facility.” The Knoxville plant can also be scaled up for low-rate production, he said.

HELworks currently has about 50 employees.

In addition to MCHEL, HELworks has developed the High Energy Laser Mission Equipment Package (HEL MEP), which includes the various subsystems that make up a HEL weapon system integrated with kinetic weapons on a Stryker armored vehicle.

The HEL subsystems are combined in HELworks’ third product, the LightEngine, which is a low size, weight and power system that includes a beam director and weapon fire control, tracking and targeting system provided by BlueHalo, and the Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform kinetic weapons turret supplied by Moog [MOG.A]. HELworks brings the powered and cooled laser source for LightEngine inside the Stryker, Shepherd said.

“And that’s a really unique capability,” he said. “The reason that HELworks is so excited about that potential is that no other DE solution has been even feasible on a Stryker platform without removing all of the kinetic weapons. So, where the Army’s interest is with us is that we aren’t pulling off kinetic capability, we are augmenting and adding directed energy capability to an existing platform because of our small size, weight and power.”

The HEL MEP doesn’t require an external power or cooling source and is essentially a “black box” added to the Stryker vehicle, he said.

The mission application the HEL MEP is targeted for is the mobile short-range air defense to address threats from drones, rockets, artillery and mortars, Shepherd said.

The HEL MEP integrated on Stryker will be demonstrated in December at Fort Sill, Okla., during the Army’s Maneuver and Fires Integrated Experiment.