US Navy awards $150m contract for delivery of laser weapon systems

5 March 2018 (Last Updated March 5th, 2018 11:48)

The US Navy has awarded a new $150m contract for the development, production and delivery of two high-power laser weapon systems by the fiscal year 2020.

US Navy awards $150m contract for delivery of laser weapon systems
Artist’s rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

The US Navy has awarded a new $150m contract for the development, production and delivery of two high-power laser weapon systems by the fiscal year 2020.

The contract features options worth up to $942.8m and is also set to cover the supply of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and counter-unmanned aerial system (counter-UAS) capabilities.

Lockheed Martin will be responsible for providing the US Navy with a high-energy laser and integrated optical-dazzler with surveillance (HELIOS) system under the deal, which is intended to support the navy’s plan to field laser weapons on-board surface vessels.

"The HELIOS programme is the first of its kind and brings together laser weapon, long-range ISR and counter-UAS capabilities, dramatically increasing the situational awareness and layered defence options available."

Lockheed Martin Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors vice-president and general manager Michele Evans said: “The HELIOS programme is the first of its kind and brings together laser weapon, long-range ISR and counter-UAS capabilities, dramatically increasing the situational awareness and layered defence options available to the US Navy.

“This is a true system of capabilities, and we’re honoured the navy trusted Lockheed Martin to be a part of fielding these robust systems to the fleet.”

The current contract represents the first phase of the US Navy’s Surface Navy Laser Weapon System programme, which will see Lockheed Martin supply two units of the laser weapon system for testing purposes.

One of the contracted units is set to be delivered to the US Navy for integration onto the shipboard of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, while the other will be used for land testing at White Sands Missile Range.

Lockheed’s HELIOS solution combines three major capabilities, which have been integrated into a single weapon system for the first time.

The capabilities include a high-energy laser system designed to counter unmanned aerial systems and small boats, as well as a long-range ISR capability to provide decision-makers with maximum access to information.

Furthermore, the HELIOS solution is equipped with a counter-UAS dazzler capability to obscure and weaken adversarial, UAS-based ISR systems.