The U.S. Navy just awarded Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract, which can go up to $942.8 million in options, to develop, manufacture and deliver two high-powered laser weapon systems by 2020. The laser systems will be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and counter-UAS purposes. Not only are these new lasers built to take down drones, but they can also take out small boats.
Gunning down drones can be inefficient, so Lockheed Martin’s High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) system was designed as a military-grade defense weapon for surface ships. One unit will be delivered to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, while the other unit will be used for land testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The HELIOS system is created to be a high-energy laser system, a counter-UAS dazzler and a long-range ISR capable data collector.
According to Military.com, Ian Mckennie, Lockheed’s business development leader for laser systems, said,” The Primary targets are small boats and, even more importantly, small drones.”