Boeing and General Atomics join forces to develop LASER capable of shooting missiles out of the sky 


Boeing and General Atomics are joining forces to develop a new high-energy laser weapon capable of shooting missiles out of the sky.

Unveiled on October 13, the two companies are pledging to combine their expertise to produce a ‘HEL’ weapons system equipped with 100 kilowatt beams that can be increased to 250 kilowatts to support a variety of air and missile defense applications.

The weapon, designed to ‘defeat an increasing array of emerging threats’, will be able to be employed as a standalone system or be integrated on-board ground vehicles, ships and aircraft, the companies said.

General Atomics will be responsible for developing the weapon’s laser, batteries and thermal management system, while Boeing will create the beam director and the software necessary for precision tracking and physically directing the laser.

Boeing and General Atomics are joining forces to develop a new high-energy laser weapon capable of shooting missiles out of the sky (concept photo)

Unveiled on October 13, the two companies are pledging to combine their expertise to produce a ‘HEL’ weapons system equipped with 100 kilowatt beams that can be increased to 250 kilowatts to support a variety of air and missile defense applications (file photo)

Unveiled on October 13, the two companies are pledging to combine their expertise to produce a ‘HEL’ weapons system equipped with 100 kilowatt beams that can be increased to 250 kilowatts to support a variety of air and missile defense applications (file photo)

The companies otherwise offered scant details about the proposed weapon system, such as how long it will take to develop.

However, they both emphasized the laser’s ‘compact’ size, adaptability and small logistics footprint.

‘GA-EMS has made significant advancements in developing and demonstrating highly scalable laser technologies to facilitate high output power in smaller, lighter weight packages,’ General Atomics president Scott Forney said in a statement.

‘We look forward to working with Boeing to deliver a laser weapon system with capabilities designed to meet current operational requirements, while providing the flexibility and adaptability to suit emerging platform requirements, supporting missions across a multi-domain battlespace,’ he added.

Norm Tew, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems, added that the partnership ‘will deliver an innovative [high-energy laser] force protection capability to the warfighter that is capable of supporting future needs and modernization objectives.’

‘Together, we’re leveraging six decades of directed energy experience and proven, deployed technologies to rapidly field a next-generation solution with unmatched precision, performance, safety and affordability,’ Tew continued.

General Atomics will be responsible for developing the laser, batteries and thermal management system,

Boeing will create the beam director and software necessary for precision tracking and pointing the laser.

General Atomics will be responsible for developing the laser, batteries and thermal management system, while Boeing will create the beam director and software necessary for precision tracking and pointing the laser.

The weapon, designed to ‘defeat an increasing array of emerging threats’, will be able to be employed as a standalone system or integrated on-board ground vehicles, ships and aircraft, the companies said

The weapon, designed to ‘defeat an increasing array of emerging threats’, will be able to be employed as a standalone system or integrated on-board ground vehicles, ships and aircraft, the companies said

The companies also didn’t specify whether the system is being built with a particular acquisition program in mind, however the power levels touted by Boeing and GA align with what the Army is hoping to achieve for its High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program, Defense News reported.

For their project, the Army has already enlisted the services of Dynetics and Lockheed Martin to build the HEL TVD’s laser, a 100-kilowatt beam to be integrated for use on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles platform. The service hopes ultimately to increase the weapon’s power capabilities to 250-to-300-kilowatts for future programs.

The Army is planning to demonstrate the HEL TVD’s capabilities on a truck in 2022, before building four vehicle prototypes to be delivered in 2024.

The Navy and the Air Force are also developing similar laser demonstrators at the same power level. 

The services and the defense department will then decide which of those three are ‘best-in-breed’, Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) director told Defense News.

The announcement of Boeing and General Atomics’ laser teaming partnership comes just weeks after the two companies unveiled a separate agreement to launch a bid for the Missile Defense Agency’s Next Generation Interceptor program.

The companies will be competing against Lockheed Martin and a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon Technologies team to build a new ballistic missile interceptor.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk