Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Laser vs. drones: The Pentagon is ramping up development of laser weapons for air defense

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul11,2024

Laser against drones: Pentagon ramps up development of laser weapons for air defense

BlueHalo has signed a contract with the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) to develop advanced systems directed energy within the laser technology research and development program (LARDO).

As notified on the official portal of this American developer of directed energy systems and anti-missile defense, the total amount of the deal is $95.4 million, ArmyInform reports.

The LARDO program, which is a part of the SMDC research and development initiative, is aimed at creating advanced prototypes of laser weapons systems. These systems are designed to increase defense capability by integrating advanced technologies that cover automation, increase efficiency and reliability, and also optimize the size, weight and power of the systems.

BlueHalo's Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Vikram Manikonda, said that the company is innovating in air defense not only with directed energy technologies, but also with diagnostics, surveillance and control systems that enable their maintenance, operation and constant improvement in this field. The proposed solutions provide the military with a comprehensive framework for developing the use of laser weapons in accordance with national security requirements.

«We develop the tools to win the next war. But we make them so powerful that there will be no next war, — stressed Vikram Manikonda.

Leveraging BlueHalo's advances in counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) technology and lessons learned from the active deployment of its LOCUST laser systems, BlueHalo will lead ongoing system performance improvements, research and prototyping to enhance productivity and longevity, and also increasing lethality.

BlueHalo's LOCUST laser systems, already successfully deployed overseas, ensure the success of multidisciplinary UAV threat elimination and force protection missions. The LOCUST system combines optical and laser equipment with advanced software, artificial intelligence and data processing to activate and improve the 'chain of destruction'; with the help of directed energy, which includes tracking, identification and hitting a wide range of targets.

LOCUST with a power of up to 20 kW is a laser weapon for short-range air defense with all the necessary controls. The system is autonomous, which provides mobility and quick deployment, and can be easily moved with base equipment.

Also, the system is equipped with a radar and surveillance module located on a retractable mast and fixed on  463L standard pallet for easy portability. The portable payload can contain a universal four-band electronic attack (EA) system, a complex 360-degree radar and a device for determining the direction of movement from afar.

The company emphasized that the new contract with the Pentagon allows BlueHalo will continue to develop and build advanced laser weapon systems for fighter jets, delivering several prototypes with increased automation, efficiency, performance and strength, as well as improved size, weight and power (SWAP).

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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