Lockheed Martin delivered to the U.S. Navy 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. Integrated and scalable by design, the multi-mission HELIOS system will provide tactically relevant laser weapon system warfighting capability as a key element of a layered defense architecture. HELIOS is a transformational new weapon system providing an additional layer of protection for the fleet with its deep magazine, low-cost per kill, speed of light delivery and precision response.
“Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and providing disruptive laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions. “HELIOS enhances the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for Sailors, and we understand we must provide scalable solutions customized to the Navy’s priorities. HELIOS represents a solid foundation for incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”
Lockheed Martin was awarded the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) Increment 1, known as HELIOS, contract in January 2018 and has made steady progress on this rapid Directed Energy prototype which will be delivered later this year. In 2020, Lockheed Martin completed the Critical Design Review and Navy Factory Qualification Test milestones, demonstrating the value of system engineering rigor and proven Aegis system integration and test processes on the way to delivering an operationally effective and suitable laser weapon system that meets the Navy’s mission requirements. During factory testing in Moorestown, New Jersey, HELIOS routinely demonstrated full power operation above 60 kW.
In early 2021, the U.S. Navy will field test the Department of Defense’s first acquisition program to provide warfighters with permanent laser weapon system capability. While it will be initially integrated into an operational West Coast-based Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer with the Aegis Combat System, HELIOS is also adaptable to other ship types and combat systems, such as aircraft carriers and big-deck amphibs with the Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS). Completing these significant critical milestones for the HELIOS team and the U.S. Navy brings us much closer to delivering the system to the Navy and providing the Fleet with the capability to counter unmanned aerial threats and fast attack boats today.
But can we TRUST Lockheed? Do we keep records?; how has their equipment lasted; has anyone been injured?; has any of their equipment had “hic cups” in the past?; etc.