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Laser weapons are ideally suited to address high volume, low-cost threats because of their inexpensive cost per shot and deep magazine. The U.S. Army awarded Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and its partners a $10 million contract to continue development for the next phase of the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) program, a 100-kilowatt class laser weapon system.
Team Dynetics HEL TVD system incorporates highly reliable subsystems to withstand the expected rugged operation conditions. The team recently completed a System Requirements Review and technical baseline update. The next step in the program will be the preliminary design review in January 2019, according to Lockheed’s announcement.
“The HEL TVD program will be pivotal for the warfighters while they are protecting our country. Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and our partners are providing a safe and simple high energy laser weapon system that crews can operate for years to come and across various terrains,” said Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics vice president of contracts. “We pulled together a cross-industry leading team, which has the expertise and knowledge to understand exactly what is needed. We believe that our solution will be straightforward and will be the type of system that will be preferred by the Army.”
Dynetics is drawing on the experience of systems engineering, manufacturing, test and vehicle modifications for integration on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).
Lockheed Martin provides the laser subsystem, as well as other key subsystems. The spectral beam-combined fiber laser subsystem strongly leverages Lockheed Martin’s experience from ground vehicle integration gained as part of the Army’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) program.
“The proliferation of hostile unmanned aerial systems and rockets, artillery and mortars present an increasing threat to deployed U.S. troops. Laser weapons offer a deep magazine and very low cost per shot making them ideally suited to complement existing kinetic energy weapons to address intense UAS swarms and RAM raids,” said Iain McKinnie, Lockheed Martin business development lead for Advanced Laser Solutions and Strategy. “The Army’s HEL TVD program is a critical step toward realizing this potential, culminating in 2022 testing of a mobile 100 kW-class laser weapon system fully integrated with an Army FMTV truck.”
Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years of experience developing laser weapon systems. The HEL TVD award leverages technology building blocks from internal research and development projects, including the ATHENA system and ALADIN laser, as well as contract experience gained from programs such as the U.S. Army’s RELI program, the U.S. Air Force LANCE program and the U.S. Navy HELIOS and HEFL programs.
Team Dynetics is one of two remaining contractors competing to build the demonstrator that will be tested in 2022. The winning contractor will be awarded a contract option to finish the design, build and integrate the laser weapon system onto an Army FMTV platform and conduct field testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.