US Navy to test Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system Arleigh Burke destroyer

12 January 2021 (Last Updated January 12th, 2021 16:55)

Lockheed Martin has announced that the US Navy will soon test its high energy laser with integrated optical-dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS).

US Navy to test Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system Arleigh Burke destroyer
Artist’s rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin has announced that the US Navy will soon test its high energy laser with integrated optical-dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS).

The company has delivered the HELIOS laser weapon system for ship testing and integration.

According to Lockheed Martin, HELIOS will be initially integrated into an operational West Coast-based Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer with the Aegis Combat System for filed testing.

This will mark the US Department of Defense’s first acquisition programme to deliver a permanent laser weapon system capability to the warfighters.

Also known as the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) Increment 1, the system has successfully completed the critical design review and navy factory qualification test last year.

During factory testing, the system repeatedly showed full power operation above 60kW.

The company was awarded SNLWS Increment 1 contract in January 2018. The $150m contract comes with options worth up to $942.8m.

It involves the development, production and delivery of two high power laser weapon systems.

In March last year, Lockheed Martin and the US Navy announced the integration of the HELIOS system onto an Arleigh Burke destroyer.

The other unit will be used for land testing.

Featuring a scalable laser design architecture, the weapon systems bring together several kilowatt fibre lasers to achieve high beam quality.

The company said that its Lockheed Martin Directed Energy solutions has been able to ‘provide a proven, affordable, scalable, multi-mission capability and weapon architecture with advanced beam control and innovative fibre lasers’.