Boeing is upgrading its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) after it successfully tested its Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) by shooting down a drone.
The CLWS has been successfully tested numerous times against stationary objects but the recent August 3rd Blackdart exercise where it successfully shot down an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, was a first for the much smaller laser which puts out 2 KWs of energy.
The HEL MD upgrade is sponsored by Redstone Arsenal's Space and Missile Defense Command. The upgrade includes increasing the laser's wattage from 10 KWs to 50-60 KWs, which will greatly increase its lethality. Boeing is hoping the US Army would pick up this technology.
The truck based system currently has a 10 KW solid state laser mounted on a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, but that same platform will easily support the 50-60 KW upgrade. The HEL MD has been successful in defending against rocket, mortar, artillery, and unmanned aerial systems. The integration of the 50KW laser is the next step in proving out the technology.
Boeing officials spoke about the upgrade and the successful test of the CLWS while at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium Tuesday.