Tag Archives: DE M-SHORAD

50kW-class laser

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.

DE M-SHORAD
Raytheon Intelligence & Space to build mobile 50kW-class laser for U.S. Army

«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.

Directed Energy System

The Army recently conducted a successful evaluation of a new directed-energy capability, moving the service one step closer to fielding a platoon of four laser-equipped Stryker combat vehicle prototypes next fiscal year, program leads said Wednesday.

DE M-SHORAD
The Army recently conducted a successful evaluation of a new Directed Energy-Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense system, or DE M-SHORAD, aboard a Stryker combat vehicle, moving the service one step closer to fielding a platoon of four laser-equipped Stryker prototypes next fiscal year (Jim Kendall)

The Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense system, or DE M-SHORAD, is a 50-kW-class laser designed to protect divisions and brigade combat teams against unmanned aircraft systems, rotary and fixed-wing threats, rockets, artillery, and mortars, said Marcia Holmes, the deputy director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition.

«Our goal is to deliver prototypes that Soldiers can use as the mission requires and that the Army can leverage as a baseline for a program of record», Holmes said. «A Soldier-centered design is a key part to reduce risk and to ensure an operationally effective weapon system».

A strong partnership between the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office and science and technology industry leaders led to the development and implementation of the first prototype in 24 months, Holmes said.

The addition of the DE M-SHORAD and other directed-energy capabilities like the Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser, or IFPC-HEL, and IFPC-High Power Microwave are all designed to complement the Army’s kinetic air defense capabilities, said Craig Robin, deputy director of the RCCTO’s directed energy project office.

The unique design of the DE M-SHORAD leverages the Stryker’s gas-powered engine to energize its batteries, cooling system, and laser. The self-contained system has enough electricity to address multiple threats at a time before needing a period to recharge, he said.

«There are places where directed energy can provide a significant advantage», he added. «All the bullets are built into the system, so the logistics associated with moving a platform and supplying it requires just gas and parts».

IFPC-HEL
The prototype proved its abilities during a combat shoot-off in July 2021 at Fort Sill, Okla (Jim Kendall)

Robin added that directed-energy systems are also more cost-effective from a life cycle perspective, making them a strategic tool to take out low-cost threats like an UAS to save the Army’s kinetic capabilities.

The Army plans to demonstrate the DE M-SHORAD capabilities during Project Convergence 21 (PC 21), where it will participate in a joint and coalition exercise later this year, said Col. Scott McLeod, the program’s manager.

«PC 21 will be a big opportunity for us to show how we can integrate with our systems and demonstrate the capability against other threats», McLeod said.

In July, the prototype proved its abilities during a combat shoot-off at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. During the event, Soldiers faced several realistic scenarios intended to refine future DE M-SHORAD characteristics, as program leads collected extensive data and user feedback to refine the system, McLeod said.

In addition to Project Convergence 21, the DE M-SHORAD development team will make minor adjustments to improve the device’s performance in the coming months, followed by several internal system verifications, he added.

«We are delivering a brand new capability – it is not a modification or an upgrade. It is unlike any other system the Army has fielded to date», McLeod said. «This event was a major step in the prototyping process and an informative waypoint as we move forward with building and delivering a prototype platoon in fiscal year 2022».

Stryker
Army to field laser-equipped Stryker prototypes in fiscal year 2022 (Jim Kendall)