US Navy to field High Energy Laser weapon system on Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer


According to information published on January 11, 2021, this year, the U.S. Navy will field the first acquisition program to deploy the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, or HELIOS, a laser weapon system with high-energy fiber lasers for permanent fielding by the U.S. Department of Defense.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist’s rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system mounted on Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer. (Picture source Lockheed Martin)


This will be the only deployed laser system integrated into an operational Flight IIA DDG. This follows the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Navy’s recent demonstration of full laser power in excess of the 60 kW requirement. The scalable laser design architecture spectrally combines multiple kilowatt fiber lasers to attain high beam quality at various power levels.

Lockheed Martin completed the Critical Design Review and Navy Factory Qualifcation Test milestones in 2020, demonstrating the value of system engineering rigor and proven Aegis system integration and test processes on the way to delivering operationally effective and suitable laser weapon system that meets the Navy’s mission requirements.

Lockheed Martin Directed Energy solutions provide a proven, affordable, scalable, multi-mission capability and weapon architecture with advanced beam control and innovative fiber lasers that support size, weight and power constraints for air, sea and land platforms. Lockheed Martin is advancing and demonstrating a range of technologies to position laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield and at-sea on a variety of platforms.

The High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, or HELIOS, provides the U.S. Navy with game-changing directed energy capability through integration of high energy laser and optical dazzler technology into the ship and combat system. More than just a high energy laser, The HELIOS system’s multi-mission capabilities include long range Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Counter UAS-mounted ISR (C-ISR) Dazzler.

Lockheed Martin was awarded the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) Increment 1, known as HELIOS, contract in January 2018 and has made steady progress on this rapid Directed Energy prototype which will be delivered later this year.

In 2020, Lockheed Martin completed the Critical Design Review and Navy Factory Qualifcation Test milestones, demonstrating the value of system engineering rigor and proven Aegis system integration and test processes on the way to delivering an operationally effective and suitable laser weapon system that meets the Navy’s mission requirements. During factory testing in Moorestown, New Jersey, HELIOS routinely demonstrated full power operation above 60 kW. The scalable laser design architecture spectrally combines multiple kilowatt fiber lasers to attain high beam quality at various power levels.

The  HELIOS will be first integrated into an operational West Coast-based Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer with the Aegis Combat System, but HELIOS is also adaptable to other ship types and combat systems, such as aircraft carriers and big-deck amphibs with the Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS).


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