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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Lockheed delivers HELIOS high-energy laser weapons to the United States

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The United States Navy has acquired a high-energy laser weapon named “Helios” from defense giant Lockheed Martin., With the acquisition of this laser weapon, a major step has been taken in the current race for Directed Energy Weapons (DEW).

The Lockheed Martin High-Energy Laser (HEL) has been delivered to the US Navy for installation on warships, a significant step forward for Pentagon technology beyond isolated testing and into actual warfare.

The weapon system, officially known as the . is referred to as High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical Glare and Surveillance (HELIOS), is a laser over 60 kW. Lockheed Martin got the initial contract to manufacture weapons in 2018.

“HELIOS improves the overall effectiveness of a ship’s combat systems to prevent future threats and provide additional protection to sailors, and we understand that we must provide scalable solutions tailored to the Navy’s priorities,” says Advanced Product Solutions Vice President Rick Cordero said. Lockheed Martin said in a statement.

“HELIOS represents a solid foundation for the incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities,” he said.

A continuous wave Hale beam is a focused beam of optical radiation that transmits heat to the surface of the target and destroys it. Unlike kinetic weapons, there is no momentum transfer, no shockwave, no high-speed shards, and no instantaneous impact.

Prevents the first hitting the target at the time of instantaneous flight of the high-energy laser beam, Furthermore, since the cost of an engagement can be reduced to the running cost of the generator that supplies the required current, HELs operate at almost zero cost per shot.

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According to the manufacturer, the HELIOS multi-mission system, integrated and expandable by design, will provide a strategically relevant laser weapon system combat capability as a critical component of the layered defense architecture.

With its deep magazine, low cost per kill, lightning fast launch, and precise response, the revolutionary new HELIOS weapon system adds an extra layer of defense to the fleet.

Lockheed Martin said in January 2022 that it is packaging the HELIOS system that This year will be mounted on the Earle Burke-class destroyer USS Prebble (DDG-88), The company completed testing on Wallops Island, Virginia, in the fall of 2021.

According to US Navy budget justification documents, Aegis is the first ship in the Preball Navy fleet to receive the weapon when modernized availability. The ship will undergo sea trials in the financial year 2023.

Lockheed Delivers Helios High-Energy Laser Weapons To The United States
HELIOS- Lockheed Martin.

high energy laser

Several directed energy programs for the US Navy are in various stages of research and development. For example, HELIOS can be boosted up to 120kW. The fact that the Navy accepts the delivery of HELIOS shows that the weapon has established its value and is ready for further dispersal in the fleet.

The incorporation of high-intensity laser and optical dazzle technology into ship and combat systems provides the US Navy with game-changing directed energy capabilities.

The multi-mission capabilities of the HELIOS system go beyond just high-energy lasers, as it also includes a long-range glider for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and counter-UAS (C-ISR). It uses a laser of over 100KW power.

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“The interesting thing about Helios is that it is not just a stand-alone system, but which contains the initial pieces of integration into Aegis“And the next step will be to make it one of the selections in the Aegis weapon system component,” Lockheed executive Jeanine Matthews told reporters in January.

Lockheed Delivers Helios High-Energy Laser Weapons To The United States
Helios System (via Twitter)

Guided energy weapons have become one of the most advanced and sought-after weapon categories by advanced armies around the world. Earlier this year, the Defense Department’s chief technology officer released a list of 14 technology areas considered most important for investment, highlighting directed energy as an important technology area for the Pentagon.

The US Navy tested a high-energy, all-electric laser weapon called the Layered Laser Defense (LLD) developed by Lockheed Martin in February 2022., The Navy said in a press release detailing the demonstration, “The ground-based laser system targeted the red drone as it was flying past, emitting a high-energy beam invisible to the naked eye.”

In addition to Lockheed Martin, other US defense manufacturers such as Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Boeing are currently working on high-energy laser weapons for the US Army, Navy and Air Force.

Laser weapons provide an unprecedented level of accuracy and combat speed for naval combatants, Lasers simplify logistics and make ships and their crews safer because they do not rely on conventional fuel and gunpowder-based weapons used on ships.

Modern high-powered lasers, on the other hand, are electrically powered, making them inherently safe and capable of acting as weapons as long as the ship has power.

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