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Raytheon receives USD123 million to build additional Stryker-based 50 kW-class laser weapons

Raytheon Intelligence and Space has disclosed that it has received an additional USD123 million to ‘build and deliver' three Stryker vehicles outfitted with 50 kW-class lasers to the US Army.

In August, service officials announced that a Raytheon-backed team is now tasked with proceeding with its Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) initiative after a Northrop Grumman prototype was forced out because of technical challenges.

Raytheon had already produced one prototype for the service and will now, along with other team members, build the additional three prototypes under the USD123 million deal, the company said on 7 September.

These Stryker vehicles outfitted with 50 kW-class lasers are intended to help soldiers down unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, and rocket, artillery, and mortar threats.

In 2019, the service selected Kord Technologies as the DE M-SHORAD prime contractor and it subsequently awarded two subcontracts to build competing prototypes – one to Raytheon and the other to Northrop Grumman. These subcontracts were set up with a series of ‘gates', or review points, designed to help the service measure progress and determine if the team could go forward. This process included a ‘shoot off' event at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the Raytheon prototype was used in a series of scenarios to evaluate system performance, establish threshold requirements for the laser, and demonstrate the system's technical maturity and readiness, according to the company.

“In just a few days, soldiers went from training to operating the system and engaging targets to providing valuable feedback to our team that will help improve future systems,” said Annabel Flores, vice-president for electronic warfare systems at Raytheon Intelligence and Space.

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