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Lockheed Martin delivers HELIOS to US Navy

Lockheed Martin delivered a HELIOS system to the US Navy. (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin delivered to the US Navy (USN) a 60+ kW-class High-Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS), the first tactical laser weapon system to be integrated into existing ships and provide directed energy capability to the fleet, the company confirmed on 18 August.

The HELIOS system is designed to provide a tactically relevant laser weapon system warfighting capability as an important element of a layered defence architecture.

The laser system is part of an overall USN effort to develop more laser-based technology for its fleet.

The USN's proposed fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget requested USD35.3 million for the Navy Laser Family of Systems (NLFoS), which is designated as “an accelerated acquisition initiative to provide near-term, ship-based laser weapon capabilities”, according to USN budget documents released on 14 April 2022.

“The NLFoS efforts form the foundation of an incremental strategy for increased laser weapon capability as it is matured. NLFoS includes the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) and the Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM),” the USN said in the documents.

The SNLWS addresses anti-surface warfare and counter-intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C-ISR) gaps with the ability to dazzle and destroy unmanned aerial systems (UASs) and defeat fast inshore attack craft (FIAC), the navy noted.

The SNLWS includes the development of an advanced prototype laser weapon system in the 60 kW or higher class.

“The FY 2023 budget supports execution of at-sea testing following the successful completion and installation of Mk 5 Mod 0 High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance on DDG 88, USS Preble ,” the navy said.

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