Army Demonstration Advances Directed Energy System

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LAS CRUCES, N.M., May 25, 2022 — With an advancement to the U.S. Army’s Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) system, a team led by Raytheon Intelligence and Space, and by Kord, a subsidiary of KBR, defeated multiple 60-mm mortar rounds with a 50-kW-class high-energy laser integrated on a Stryker combat vehicle. The demonstration spanned four weeks of continuous live-fire exercises, in which the directed energy weapon system acquired, tracked, targeted, and defeated the mortars and accomplished tests simulating real-world scenarios.

The operational assessment took place at White Sands Missile Range, located northeast of Las Cruces, N.M. The operational assessment also included defeating several small, medium, and large drones.
A Stryker military vehicle equipped with a 50kW high energy laser was able to target and destroy 60mm mortar rounds, as well as small, medium, and large drones. Courtesy of U.S. Army.
A Stryker military vehicle equipped with a 50-kW high-energy laser was able to target and destroy 60-mm mortar rounds, as well as small, medium, and large drones. Courtesy of U.S. Army.

“Soldiers in the field face increasingly complex threats, and our combat-proven sensors, software, and lasers are ready to give them a new level of protection,” said Annabel Flores, president of Electronic Warfare Systems for Raytheon Intelligence and Space. “The Army gave us our toughest challenge yet — countering rockets, artillery, and mortars — and we took an essential step on the path to providing the maneuverable, short-range air defense soldiers need.”

The DE M-SHORAD effort is aimed at protecting soldiers against various aerial threats, including unmanned aircraft systems, rotary-wing aircraft, rockets, artillery, and mortars. Kord serves as the primary integrator of the system on the Stryker combat vehicle, while Raytheon Intelligence and Space provides the 50-kW-class high-energy-laser (HEL) weapon module, a specialized radar acquisition system, a beam control system, and targeting sensor.

Last summer, the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), alongside Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team, Fires Center of Excellence, and the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, took a laser-equipped Stryker to Fort Sill, Okla., as part of its DE M-SHORAD Combat Shoot-Off. The demonstration marked the first combat application of lasers for a maneuver element in the Army, said Neil Thurgood, director for Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space, and Rapid Acquisition, which includes the RCCTO.

“This team once again showed that the HEL system is fully integrated and ready to provide protection against complex threats,” said Byron Bright, president of KBR Government Solutions. “With an effectively infinite magazine and near-zero cost per shot, HEL is now the proven answer to asymmetric threats like drones and mortars.”

The joint industry team, which includes Rocky Research for power and thermal management, General Dynamics Land Systems for the Stryker platform, and Applied Technology Associates for additional sensors, is preparing to deliver four DE M-SHORAD units to Army Brigade Combat Teams in 2022.

Published: May 2022
BusinessLasersmilitarydefenseDirected EnergyArmyU.S. ArmyDE M-SHORADWhite Sands Missile RangedronesmortarRaytheonKordKBrAmericas

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