Dynetics to Build 100 kW-Class Laser Weapons for U.S. Army

Dynetics will serve as prime contractor, while Lockheed Martin will also play a pivotal role.

The U.S. Army has awarded Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and its partners a $10 million contract to continue development for the next phase of the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program, a 100-kilowatt class laser weapon system.

According to Lockheed Martin, laser weapons are ideally suited to address high volume, low cost threats because of their inexpensive cost per shot and deep magazine. The Dynetics HEL TVD system incorporates subsystems designed for improved reliability, to withstand the expected rugged operation conditions.

The high energy laser counters unmanned aerial systems, rockets, artillery, and mortars. Artist’s rendering: Lockheed Martin

The high energy laser counters unmanned aerial systems, rockets, artillery, and mortars. Artist’s rendering: Lockheed Martin

The team at Dynetics recently completed a system requirements review and technical baseline update. The next step in the program will be the preliminary design review in January 2019.

“Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and our partners are providing a safe and simple high energy laser weapon system that crews can operate for years to come and across various terrains,” said Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics vice president of contracts.

Dynetics is drawing on the experience of systems engineering, manufacturing, test and vehicle modifications for integration on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

Lockheed Martin provides the laser subsystem, as well as other key subsystems. The spectral beam-combined fiber laser subsystem strongly leverages Lockheed Martin’s experience from ground vehicle integration gained as part of the Army’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) program.

“The proliferation of hostile unmanned aerial systems and rockets, artillery and mortars present an increasing threat to deployed troops. Laser weapons offer a deep magazine and very low cost per shot making them ideally suited to complement existing kinetic energy weapons to address intense UAS swarms and RAM raids,” said Iain McKinnie, Lockheed Martin business development lead for Advanced Laser Solutions and Strategy. “The Army’s HEL TVD program is a critical step toward realizing this potential, culminating in 2022 testing of a mobile 100 kW-class laser weapon system fully integrated with an Army FMTV truck.”

Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years of experience developing laser weapon systems. The HEL TVD award leverages technology building blocks from internal research and development projects, including the ATHENA system and ALADIN laser, as well as contract experience gained from programs such as the U.S. Army’s RELI program, the U.S. Air Force LANCE program and the U.S. Navy HELIOS and HEFL programs.

According to the press release from Lockheed Martin, Dynetics is one of two remaining contractors competing to build the demonstrator that will be tested in 2022.  While the release does not mention the other competitor, there’s a good chance that Raytheon is in the mix.

The winning contractor will be awarded a contract option to finish the design, build and integrate the laser weapon system onto an Army FMTV platform and conduct field testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Check out this related story from our archives: Raytheon Test Fires a Laser Weapon From a Chopper.