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The US has been enhancing its Directed-Energy (DE) capabilities aimed at countering threats posed by missiles. A directed energy weapon is a ranged weapon system that inflicts damage at a target by the emission of highly focused energy, including laser, microwaves and particle beams. Potential applications include anti-personnel weapon systems, missile defense system, and the disabling of lightly armored vehicles or mounted optical devices.

The US Army has secured a $29m contract with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions to support its DE systems. The company will commit to developing prototype technologies, components and subsystems to support the advancement and upgrade of the existing or new DE systems, according to army-technology.com.

It will help expand the DE system capabilities of counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM), counter unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS), and/or counter intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C-ISR) missions.

The prototype technologies to be developed include beam control, high energy lasers, adaptive optics, sensors, fire support and target tracking. They will be able to directly increase mission effectiveness of the US military personnel, in addition to the supporting platforms, systems, components or materials proposed to be procured or developed by the US Army. Work is expected to be carried out at several Kratos facilities and government locations in Huntsville, Alabama, US.

The enhanced capabilities will help support the operations of the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command / Army Forces Strategic Command (USA SMDC/ARSTRAT).