The US Navy has awarded a contract to Boeing to design and develop a beam control system to improve accuracy for laser weapons integrated on navy vessels.
As part of the $29.5m agreement, Boeing will design a solid-state, laser technology-based high-power beam control subsystem prototype that is compatible with high-energy lasers (HEL).
Boeing said it will be attuned with systems being designed by other companies for the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) solid-state laser technology maturation programme.
Capitalising on the company’s work with the US Army’s high-energy laser mobile demonstrator (HEL MD), the beam control system will mainly focus and hold a laser on a moving aim-point that is at a distance sufficient to immobilise the target.
Boeing Directed Energy and Strategic Systems vice-president Peggy Morse said: "Boeing innovations in beam control and directed-energy technologies are keys to understanding laser weapon system configurations that could yield a capability for the navy in their maritime environment."
Last year, Boeing demonstrated the HEL MD system at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US. It acquired, tracked and destroyed targets in windy and foggy conditions.
In addition, vital technical statistics were accumulated on energy systems within a maritime environment and then shared by the ONR with the army and Boeing.
HEL MD successfully disabled mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles during recent testing.