U.S. Navy Building ‘Portable’ Laser Weapon

As reported by David Hambling for Forbes.com, MZA Associates of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will “will design, develop, deliver, integrate, test and demonstrate a compact, portable, low-cost and reliable C-UAS HELWS” – short for ‘Counter-Unmanned Air Systems High Energy Laser Weapon System.’

Hambling explains, “In other words, a laser to zap small drones. While other laser systems go up to 150 kilowatts and can take on a range of targets, a 10-Kw laser is just powerful enough to take down small consumer quadcopters, an increasing threat on the battlefield. …‘Under the contract with the Navy, MZA is developing a transportable laser weapon system to enable defense against adversary unmanned aerial vehicles,’ Frank Peterkin, Program Officer at the ONR told Forbes.  The weapon is not portable in the usual sense. ‘The full system will still require machinery — trucks, cranes, et cetera — for initial emplacement and/or relocation to other sites,” says Peterkin.’

Hambling notes that the new weapon will be a size down from the smallest current laser, the High-Energy Laser Weapon System or HELWS, developed by Raytheon in 2019, and shown in the photo of the off-road army vehicle. There is much more to this story and we highly recommend Hambling’s account at Forbes.com. Photos courtesy of Forbes.com and the U.S. Army.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in their  # 21 - 25 - 8 OCTOBER 2021 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN).

David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send David a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.