Navy Gets Integrated Multi-Mission Laser Weapon System
Lockheed Martin delivered to the U.S. Navy a 60+ kW-class high energy laser with integrated optical-dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS), the first tactical laser weapon system to be integrated into existing ships to provide directed energy capability to the fleet. Integrated and scalable by design, the multi-mission HELIOS system will provide tactically relevant laser weapon system warfighting capability as a key element of a layered defense architecture.
“Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and providing disruptive laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions. “HELIOS enhances the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for sailors, and we understand we must provide scalable solutions customized to the Navy’s priorities. HELIOS represents a solid foundation for incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”
Laser weapons provide the advantages of speed, flexibility, precision, and lower cost per engagement that are only possible with lasers. Directed Energy operates as a force multiplier, enabling the warfighter to counter a growing range of emerging threats.
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.
The HELIOS system’s deep magazine, low cost per kill, speed of light delivery, and precision response enable it to address Fleet needs now and its mature, scalable architecture supports increased laser power levels to counter additional threats in the future. HELIOS leverages technology building blocks from significant, long term internal research and development projects that continue to advance the Navy’s goal for fielding laser weapon systems aboard surface ships and putting the Navy on the right side of the cost curve for threat engagements.
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 Qualification 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.
While it will be initially integrated into an operational West Coast-based Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer with the Aegis Combat System, 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).