Lockheed Martin and the US Navy are set to integrate the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) system onto an Arleigh Burke destroyer in 2021.

The move comes after the laser system underwent the US Navy’s Critical Design Review (CDR).

Set to undergo system integration in Moorestown, New Jersey this year, the HELIOS system will then be tested at the Wallops Island Navy land-based test site.

This is expected to significantly reduce programme risk prior to its delivery to a shipyard for integration into an Arleigh Burke destroyer.

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems Advanced Product Solutions vice-president Hamid Salim said: “Our adversaries are rapidly developing sophisticated weapons and the threats to the US Navy’s fleet are getting more challenging.

“Our warfighters need this capability and capacity now to effectively counter threats such as unmanned aerial systems and fast attack vessels.”

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HELIOS will become an integrated component of the destroyer’s Aegis combat system.

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems HELIOS programme director Brendan Scanlon said: “HELIOS will provide an additional layer of protection for the fleet-deep magazine, low cost per kill, speed of light delivery, and precision response.

“Additional HELIOS systems will accelerate the warfighter learning curve, provide risk reduction for future laser weapon system increments and provide a stronger demand signal to the supply base.”

The system leverages technology from internal research and development projects that continue to advance the goal of the US Navy to field laser weapon systems on surface ships.

In March 2018, the US Navy awarded a $150m contract to Lockheed Martin for the development, production and delivery of two high-power laser weapon systems.