Lockheed Martin will scale its laser technology to a new benchmark: a 500 kW-class laser, the most powerful laser Lockheed Martin has produced, topping its 300 kW-class laser power level developed under a contract from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering, OUSD (R&E). The 500 kW-class laser, developed under a new contract just awarded by OUSD (R&E), is the second phase of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI). This phase of HELSI aims to increase the laser’s power level while achieving excellent beam quality and optimizing efficiency, size, weight, and volume for the continuous-wave high energy laser sources. Proving this capability will reduce risk for the Department of Defense acquisition and fielding of high-powered laser weapon systems for all six military branches.
“OUSD (R&E) has invested to mature high energy lasers in support of America’s warfighters. At the same time, Lockheed Martin has invested in our production infrastructure in anticipation of the Department of Defense’s demand for laser weapons that have additional layers of protection with deep magazines, low cost per engagement, high speed of light delivery and high precision response reducing logistics requirements,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president of Mission Systems & Weapons at Lockheed Martin. “The 500-kW laser will incorporate our successes from the 300-kW system and lessons learned from legacy programs to further prove the capability to defend against a range of threats.”
The OUSD (R&E) selected Lockheed Martin in 2019 to scale its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300 kW-class level as part of the HELSI, and the team recently achieved that milestone ahead of schedule. The HELSI laser will support demonstration efforts with the Army’s IFPC-HEL, which is scheduled for laboratory and field testing this year. This recent HELSI delivery milestone also exemplifies Lockheed Martin’s commitment to 21st Century Security, developing advanced technologies that provide speed, agility, and mission solutions that help ensure the U.S. and its allies are always prepared for what’s ahead. Lockheed Martin’s 300 kW-class high-energy laser design and build was enabled by significant investments in directed energy technology and the contributions of the company’s dedicated team in Washington state and Owego, New York.
Lockheed Martin is a proven weapon system integrator and has invested in demonstrating the maturity of its directed energy technology and increasing its production capacity to build laser weapon systems at scale. This OUSD (R&E) HELSI milestone exemplifies Lockheed Martin’s commitment to develop advanced technologies that provide speed and agility to Joint All-Domain Operations. The 500 kW-class laser will be tactically configured, utilize Lockheed Martin’s proven spectral beam combined architecture to support military platforms, and incorporate Department of Defense Modular Open System Approach standards to ensure the systems interoperability and multi-mission integration. Lockheed Martin applies more than 40 years of experience in the research, design, development, and capture of electromagnetic energy to elevate its power for innovative 21st Century Security solutions.