DARPA has its 2016 budget.
High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS)
HELLADS program had funding of 26.6 million in 2014 and 14.1 million in 2015.
Description: The goal of the HELLADS program is to develop a high-energy laser weapon system that will provide an order of magnitude reduction in weight compared to existing laser systems. HELLADS will enable high-energy lasers (HELs) to be integrated onto tactical aircraft and will significantly increase engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems, in addition to enabling high precision/low collateral damage and rapid engagement of fleeting targets for both offensive and defensive missions. Advancements in beam control and other subsystems that are required for the practical integration of a laser weapon into existing tactical platforms will be explored. With the assistance of the Services, the HELLADS program will pursue the necessary analysis, coordination, and design activity for a prototype laser weapon system incorporating the HELLADS laser system and the ABC turret into air-, ground-, or sea-based tactical vehicles. While the prototype laser weapon system module is in design and development, the HELLADS 150 kilowatt (kW) laser will be made available for demonstration opportunities and transition to the Army, Navy, or Air Force.
FY 2014 Accomplishments:
– Completed laboratory checkout and government acceptance of 150 kW laser; packaged laser and shipped for integration into the high power laser demonstrator system.
– Continued risk reduction test of tracking systems for dynamic targets, demonstrated aim point accuracy to support lethal power delivery to test targets in representative battlefield environments.
– Completed high power optics insertion, safety system checkouts, range communications protocol check, and initial high power static operation of laser weapon demonstrator to verify the laser and its subsystems can safely demonstrate lethal effects on mortars and rockets.
– Commenced live fire tests against rocket and mortar fly-outs to demonstrate lethal laser power at mission-relevant ranges.
– Completed preliminary design and detailed design of laser weapon module prototype’s subsystems for integration on a specific air-, ground-, or sea-based tactical vehicle.
FY 2015 Plans:
– Complete live fire tests against rocket and mortar fly-outs to demonstrate lethal laser power at mission-relevant ranges.
– Transport demonstrator laser from Army mission (rocket/mortar) relevant ground test site to mountain peak test site to mimic Air Force missions for precision air-to-ground and airborne self-defense demonstrations.