Two prototype high energy laser weapon systems built by Raytheon [RTN] will be deployed to troops overseas as part of an Air Force experiment, the company said Aug. 5.
The experiment will include 12 months of in-field operation against unmanned aerial systems, as well as operator training, according to Raytheon. The time period or location was not disclosed.
The high energy laser weapon system (HELWS) is paired with Raytheon’s multi-spectral targeting system to precisely detect, identify and neutralize drones while mounted on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle.
“Every day, there’s another story about a rogue drone incident,” said Stefan Baur, vice president of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems, in a Monday statement. “These threats aren’t going away, and in many instances, shooting them with a high energy laser weapon system is the most effective and safest way to bring them down.”
The new contract follows recent Army- and Air Force-led tests of Raytheon’s laser systems, including a counter-UAS demonstration last spring at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The company’s high-power microwave and mobile high energy laser systems successfully defeated multiple targets during the demo, which expanded on a similar 2017 exercise conducted by the Army.