The new weapons will be a key element of a multi-layered defense architecture to protect the United States Navy.
The Age of Radiation guns almost came after the US Navy received a near-ready high-energy tactical laser weapon called High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzle and Surveillance (HELIOS) from Lockheed Martin, which can be installed on existing warships.
< p>Lockheed Martin reports this.
When Theodore Meiman invented the first laser at the Hughes Research Laboratory in Malibu in 1960, it was almost immediately seen as a potential superweapon—a science fiction death ray brought to life.
While the ability to generate beams of coherent light provided scientists and engineers with a unique tool that would revolutionize many fields over the next six decades, the production of practical laser weapons proved more difficult than first thought. Today, the development of solid-state lasers based on spools of fiber optic cables doped with exotic elements such as yttrium has finally moved laser weapons from the lab to the battlefield.
The HELIOS class multi-purpose laser weapon with a power of over 60 kW will be deployed not only as an experiment on board a US Navy ship, as in previous tests, but also as an operational-tactical system that can be fully integrated into ship operations and can be scaled to meet the requirement missions. Like other laser weapons, HELIOS can project a beam at the speed of light on multiple targets and has unlimited ammo while energy is available.
HELIOS is different in that it can be used not only to destroy targets but also to blind optical sensors, and the reflected beam can collect data at long range for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications. According to Lockheed, this makes HELIOS a key element of a multi-layered defense architecture for fleet protection.
“HELIOS improves the overall effectiveness of a ship’s combat system to deter future threats and provide additional protection to sailors, and we understand that we must provide the latest solutions adapted to the priorities of the Navy. HELIOS provides a solid foundation for the phased delivery of reliable and powerful laser weapons,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president of Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions.