The US Raytheon Company is developing a preliminary design 100 kW mobile combat laser system. In a release, the company said that system will be integrated onboard on one of the FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles) army trucks.
The project is part a $10 million U.S. Army’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstration program.
“The beauty of this system is that it’s self-contained,” said Roy Azevedo, vice president of Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business unit. “Multi-spectral targeting sensors, fiber-combined lasers, power and thermal sub-systems are incorporated in a single package. This system is being designed to knock out rockets, artillery or mortar fire, or small drones.”
The military consider the main advantage of laser weapons to be “unlimited” ammunition – the system can shoot as long as it receives energy from the power source. It is expected that the cost of a single shot from will be several times lower than the cost of a shot from a mortar or artillery gun.
Last August, the military announced plans to begin in 2022 the tests of a 10-ton FMTV family truck equipped with a hundred kilowatt laser installation.
FMTV trucks are mainly used for transportation in columns of ammunition, provisions and other important cargoes. It is assumed that such vehicles equipped with laser weapons, will be able to protect themselves not only from rockets and mortar mines, but also enemy drones, helicopters, and small aircraft.
In June 2017, Raytheon, together with the US Army, successfully tested a high-energy laser onboard a AH-64D Apache helicopter – the first test of laser weapons on this class of aircraft. The details of these tests are not disclosed.
Raytheon Company, headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions.