First-Ever Helicopter-Based Firing of High Energy Laser (See in Action)

Now this is what you call a breakthrough! Raytheon, in partnership with the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Command, mounted a high energy laser on an Apache helicopter similar to those in this image and engaged and fired on a target at White Sands Missile Range. (Image Credit: Raytheon)
Now this is what you call a breakthrough! Raytheon, in partnership with the U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Command, mounted a high energy laser on an Apache helicopter similar to those in this image and engaged and fired on a target at White Sands Missile Range. (Image Credit: Raytheon)

Raytheon and the U.S. Army Apache Program Management Office, in collaboration with U.S. Special Operations Command, recently completed a successful flight test of a high energy laser system onboard an Apache AH-64 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The demonstration marks the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds.

(See in Action! First-ever helicopter-based firing of High Energy Laser, courtesy of Raytheon and YouTube)

The test achieved all primary and secondary goals, providing solid experimental evidence for the feasibility of high resolution, multi-band targeting sensor performance and beam propagation supportive of High Energy Laser capability for the rotary-wing attack mission.

Additionally, the system performed as expected while tracking and directing energy on a number of targets.

Art Morrish, VP of Advanced Concept and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
Art Morrish, VP of Advanced Concept and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems

The design of future HEL systems will be shaped by the data collected on the impact of vibration, dust and rotor downwash on HEL beam control and steering.

“Our goal is to pull the future forward,” said Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concept and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.

“This data collection shows we’re on the right track.”

“By combining combat proven sensors, like the MTS, with multiple laser technologies, we can bring this capability to the battlefield sooner rather than later.”

In this test Raytheon coupled a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, an advanced electro-optical infrared sensor, with a laser.

The MTS provided targeting information, situational awareness and beam control.

High Energy Output in a Compact Design

Raytheon provides innovative laser weapon systems with 360 degree coverage for sea, land and air applications to identify, track, and defend against enemy missiles, mortars, unmanned vehicles, swarming boat attacks and other “close-in” defense situations.

The demonstration marks the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds. (Image Credit: U.S. Army)
The demonstration marks the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds. (Image Credit: U.S. Army)

Their systems generate high power output in compact and rugged packages.

The open architecture features modular, scalable designs that can be integrated on a variety of tactical platforms making them available for immediate use in combat.

Confirmed on the AH-64 Apache, our HEL delivered a near-instantaneous response proving reliability and lethality in operational combat zones.

Features and Benefits:

  • High survivability, rugged design with straightforward scalability to higher output power
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Efficient heat removal and thermal management
  • Modular, low maintenance design
  • Automated queuing from the full spectrum of EO/IR sensors
  • Proven manufacturing experience

Truly technologically advanced, our HEL components use a single aperture optical path and modular alignment to make the invisible visible and to ensure precision targeting.

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