The US defense company Lockheed Martin has delivered a laser weapon to the US Navy. It is to be fully integrated into the systems of a ship for the first time. With light against attackers: The US defense company Lockheed Martin has delivered a laser weapon to the US Navy. This is intended to equip a destroyer.
The system, called High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-Dazzler and Surveillance (Helios), has an output of more than 60 kilowatts. It is intended to be installed on the USS Preble, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.
Helios will be fully integrated into the USS Preble's systems, allowing it to be used as a tactical weapon. This is new - previous tests of laser weapons, such as on the USS Ponce a few years ago, had not incorporated them into the ship's systems.
Helios can destroy or blind
For example, Helios can be used against small boats and drones in two ways: Using a high-energy fiber laser, Helios can destroy targets. The system also features a less powerful laser that is designed to only blind the sensors and cameras of an unmanned aerial vehicle. This is to prevent an opponent from spying on the ship with a drone. Finally, the reflected light beam from Helios can be used for reconnaissance.
Lockheed Martin has been working on such weapon systems for a long time. In 2014, a dinghy was sunk at a distance of about 1 mile (1.6 km) using a 10-kilowatt fiber laser. In the same year, the group presented a fiber laser with an output of 30 kilowatts.
In 2018, Lockheed Martin announced it was working on Helios. The delivery of the first two systems was announced for 2020.
"Helios improves the effectiveness of the ship's entire combat system to deter future threats and provide additional protection for sailors," said Rick Cordaro, director of Advanced Product Solutions at Lockheed Martin. "Helios provides a solid foundation for the phased deployment of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities."