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Laser Avenger Destroys IEDs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Dec. 1, 2009 – A laser system mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle destroyed 50 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) similar to those used by adversaries in war zones during tests in September by the Boeing Co. and the US Army.

During the laser firings Sept. 22-24 at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., Laser Avenger neutralized multiple types of IEDs, including large-caliber artillery munitions and smaller bomblets and mortar rounds. The system operated at safe distances from the targets and under a variety of conditions, including different angles and ranges. Soldiers traveling with Laser Avenger would not have to get out of their armored vehicles or wait for an explosive ordnance disposal team to destroy an IED and continue their mission.

Laser Avenger, developed by Boeing Directed Energy Systems in Albuquerque, N.M., and Boeing Combat Systems in Huntsville, Ala., integrates a directed energy weapon together with the kinetic weapons on the proven Avenger air defense system. It is a Boeing-funded initiative to demonstrate that directed energy weapons are maturing and are relevant to today's battlefield. (Image: Boeing)

"Improvised explosive devices continue to threaten US troops deployed in war zones, and Laser Avenger provides the ultra-precision, stand-off capability our warfighters need today to safely neutralize those threats," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems' Directed Energy Systems unit. "In addition, Laser Avenger's versatility makes it useful in a wide range of battlefield conditions."

The US Defense Department's Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) sponsored the test, which was conducted by Boeing and the Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space.

The test follows 2008 and 2009 demonstrations in which Laser Avenger shot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle in each event, and a 2007 demonstration in which an earlier version of Laser Avenger destroyed five targets representing IEDs and unexploded ordnance.

Boeing Directed Energy Systems in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Boeing Combat Systems Global Forces and Robotics Systems team in Huntsville cooperatively developed Laser Avenger, which integrates a directed-energy weapon together with the existing kinetic weapons on the proven Avenger air defense system developed by Combat Systems. Laser Avenger is a Boeing-funded initiative to demonstrate that directed energy weapons are maturing and are relevant to today's battlefield.

Boeing is developing laser systems for a variety of US Air Force, Army and Navy warfighter applications. These systems include the Airborne Laser, Free Electron Laser, High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator and Tactical Relay Mirror System.

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Dec 2009
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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