The Mobile Expeditionary High Enegry Laser, a 5-kilowatt laser, sits on a Stryker armored vehicle. The Army is now holding a competition for two vendors to develop a 100-kilowatt laser for an FMTV truck.
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin-Dynetics team are in a head-to-head battle to construct a 100-kilowatt laser for the U.S. Army, pushing the envelope on directed-energy capability development.
The U.S. Army will select one lucky winner to integrate its laser system on the Family of Medium-Tactical Vehicles, or FMTV, in early 2019.
The effort will culminate inside a test of the entire system in 2022 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The Army began its effort to secure a stronger laser onto a vehicle less bulky than a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck in 2016.
Raytheon announced a few weeks ago which it had won a $10 million contract to produce a laser to the Army’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstration program.
Dynetics released a statement on Aug. 6, 2018 just ahead of the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, revealing it had won, as well as its partner Lockheed Martin, the other $10 million development contract to create a laser for the HEL TVD program.
The contract to integrate the laser system onto an FMTV is expected to be priced at $130 million.
The HEL TVD program can be a science demonstration program that can work toward incorporating a laser to the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 that aims to guard against rockets, artillery and mortars in addition to cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems.
Laser weapons for platforms like IFPC Inc. 2 are increasingly being hotly pursued because regular interceptors quickly be used up and they are expensive. A laser weapon will have a much larger amount of shots based on power availability and would be less harmful for fire at a threat when compared to a missile.
“The appeal of this product is that it’s self-contained,” Roy Azevedo, Raytheon’s vp of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance systems within the company’s Space and Airborne Systems business unit, said about its offering. “Multi-spectral targeting sensors, fiber-combined lasers, power and thermal subsystems are incorporated in a single package. This system has built to knock out rockets, artillery or mortar fire, or small drones.”
Huntsville-based Dynetics assists as the prime contractor in charge of final assembly and testing with the laser system and will use its connection with systems engineering, manufacturing, test and vehicle modifications for integration about the FMTV to also integrate the laser system.
Dynetics is already active in the FMTV-based Multi-Mission Launcher development that’s part with the Army’s IFPC Inc. 2 capability.
Lockheed Martin will supply the laser subsystem and also other key components, and assists because lead systems integrator.
The spectral beam-combined fiber laser subsystem that Lockheed is developing for that program uses the company’s experience gained from your Army’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative program as well as the ATHENA and ALADIN laser programs, among other efforts inside Air Force along with the Navy.
“Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and our partners are looking forward to providing a safe and straightforward high energy laser weapon system that crews can operate for a long time and across various terrains,” Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics vice president of contracts, said in the statement.
“We pulled together a remarkable team that have the expertise and knowledge to know precisely what needed to be done. We believe our solution is going to be straightforward and will be the kind of system that will prevail by the Army.”
Chronister stated in a meeting that Lockheed has been a great teammate for this project as they have essentially “broken the code” on laser manufacturing.
For Chronister, getting under contract to develop a 100-kilowatt laser for an FMTV is a while coming. Chronister previously labored on laser programs at Army Space and Missile Defense Command. “This would have been a program that even six years back stood a lots of promise,” he was quoted saying, adding the command worked as a chef hard to bring real technology forward understanding that “the risk coming from a technology perspective is a lot less than it ever has become.”