C4iSR: Land

Dynetics to build 100 kW laser for US Army

15 May 2019

Artist’s impression of the Dynetics team’s HEL TVD solution. Source: Dynetics

The US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command has selected a Dynetics-led team to develop an experimental 100 kW laser weapon system for its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

On 15 May, the company announced that it had beat out Raytheon to receive a USD130 million contract for the service's High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) programme.

"High energy laser weapons have been a system that the United States has wanted to add into their defense portfolio since the invention of the laser," Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics' senior vice-president of contracts, said in a press release. "We are glad to be selected to build this new and safe weapon system that will provide a simple, yet cost-effective approach in theatre."

In 2018, the army selected Dynetics and its partners - Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce, and MZA Associates Corporation - and Raytheon to move into the HEL TVD preliminary design phase.

Under the new contract, the Dynetics team is selected to prepare for the critical design review, which will determine the final laser design, before building the system and integrating it onto a 6×6 FMTV for field testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The capability is also a potential technology insertion to address the army's Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 - Intercept Block 2 objective requirements.

This effort is part of the service's latest venture into directed-energy weapons and is designed to help the service counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (RAM) attacks, as well as unmanned aircraft systems (UASs).

"The project researches advanced technologies for HEL weapon systems to enable more efficient laser systems with greater power output, which in-turn enables future laser weapons on smaller vehicles for additional missions," the army wrote in fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request documents.

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