Army’s newest laser cannon is Boeing-built .

Army’s newest laser cannon is Boeing-built .


Not Raytheon, not BAE Systems, not SPAWAR, its Boeing that has built a laser cannon for the Army and it looks to be a promising addition to the Soldiers’ arsenal. The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) is a truck-mounted laser capable of blasting a drone, and more, out of the sky.

Like most lasers, this weapons-grade laser takes a highly focused, intense beam of light and aims it at a target; the target is destroyed. The basic technology is simple.

The 10-year collaborative project with Boeing Defense and the U.S. Army isn’t finished. The next phase for the laser cannon will be to increase the current 10 kilowatts of power to 50 or 60 kilowatts. The increased wattage will provide a “tactically significant power level” that the Army plans to use on not only incoming mortars and rockets, but drones or other low-flying aircraft.

The truck-mount makes the very expensive laser mobile, transportable on land or sea, and therefore more versatile. The Army might face a challenge with keeping the laser lens exquisitely clean in the battlefield. The initial testing has been done at Eglin

Air Force Base in Florida.

Yesterday’s edition of Wired said the initial $36 million dollar Boeing/Army project isn’t expected to get the HEL MD into the field for several more years.

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