Compact, High-Power Laser Program Hits Milestone
ARLINGTON, Va., July 8, 2011 — DARPA’s High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) has successfully demonstrated the ability to achieve high power and beam quality from a significantly lighter and smaller laser, showing it to be ideal for countering sophisticated surface-to-air threats. The HELLADS laser weapons system is 10 times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, enabling integration onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats.
“Successful testing of the single laser module is a major accomplishment,” said Richard Bagnell, DARPA’s HELLADS program manager. “Advances in diodes, cooling, lightweight electronics, pumps, optics and metal structures have made shrinking the size and weight possible without losing laser effectiveness.”
The program now enters the final development phase, during which a second laser module will be built and combined with the first module to generate 150 kW of power. The goal is to complete the 150-kW laser by the end of 2012.
Following the final development phase, plans call for the laser to be transported to White Sands Missile Range in early 2013 for ground testing against rockets, mortars and surface-to-air missiles, and for conducting simulated air-to-ground offensive missions.
DARPA is also in discussion with the Air Force about conducting an airborne demonstration after the ground testing phase.
For more information, visit: www.darpa.mil
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