Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S), a Raytheon Technologies business, has been awarded a $123 million contract to build and deliver three additional combat-capable 50kW-class high-energy laser weapon systems as part of the U.S. Army’s Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense, or DE M-SHORAD, program. RI&S is a subcontractor in an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement between the Army and Kord, a wholly owned subsidiary of KBR based in Huntsville, Alabama. The systems will be mounted on Stryker combat vehicles that the Army plans to deploy for field operations in 2022.
«The U.S. Army is leading the charge to give soldiers the first-ever operational capability of a mobile high-energy laser weapon», said Annabel Flores, vice president for Electronic Warfare Systems at RI&S. «Two years ago, the Army set a goal to deliver a powerful, maneuverable and proven laser system that was ready for operators to use in the field right away, and our team demonstrated that capability».
The award follows a U.S. Army DE M-SHORAD Combat Shoot-Off at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, this summer. RI&S’ solution was employed in a series of realistic scenarios designed to evaluate the performance of the system, establish threshold requirements for the laser and demonstrate its technical maturity and readiness. At the shoot-off, soldiers operated the system and effectively tracked, identified and engaged a variety of targets.
«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», added Flores.
DE M-SHORAD will offer protection to maneuvering ground forces and equipment from threats such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or UAS, rotary-wing aircraft, and rockets, artillery and mortars.
RI&S’ weapons system for DE M-SHORAD combines a 50kW-class High-Energy Laser, a beam director, an Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR) target acquisition and tracking system, and a Ku720 multi-mission radar. This gives soldiers an effective counter-UAS solution as well as providing counterintelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Work for DE M-SHORAD will be performed in McKinney, Texas.
Defensive laser weapon systems can complement kinetic weapons during field missions by providing a low cost per kill, speed-of-light delivery and a deep magazine limited only by vehicle fuel.
Previously, RI&S also delivered three high-energy laser systems to the U.S. Air Force. The systems have accrued more than 9,000 hours during operator training and operational assessment. Raytheon Technologies’ counter-UAS solutions include sensors, and kinetic and non-kinetic effectors that, when networked into a command-and-control system, provide layers of air defense and force protection designed to meet a variety of threats.