DARPA intends to award a 24-month contract to either or both of the HELLADS developers – General Atomics and Textron Defense Systems – to build and ground-test a 150 kilowatt laser compatible with the requirement for a weapon-system weight of 750kg.
The goal of the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program is to develop a high-energy laser weapon system (150 kW) with an order of magnitude reduction in weight compared to existing laser systems. With a weight goal of 34 kW. A test cell that represents one-half of the unit cell laser has been fabricated and used to characterize system losses and diode performance and reliability. The test cell is being expanded to a unit cell. Based on the results of the unit cell demonstration, additional laser modules will be fabricated to produce a 150 kW laser that will be demonstrated in a laboratory environment. The 150 kW laser will then be integrated with an existing beam control capability to produce a laser weapon system demonstrator. The capability to shoot down tactical targets such as surface-to-air missiles and rockets will be demonstrated.
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