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US Navy’s HELIOS laser passes critical design review ahead of installation

DDG-51 with a HELIOS
Lockheed Martin illustration of the HELIOS system onboard an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

The newly-developed High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) has successfully undergone the US Navy’s critical design review (CDR), coming one step closer to installation.

The CDR milestone was announced by Lockheed Martin, who will now integrate the system onto an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

According to previous announcements by the navy and the contractor, both the shipboard and an additional land-based laser had initially been scheduled to complete installation this year.

However, HELIOS is now set to undergo system integration in Moorestown, New Jersey, before undergoing tests at the Wallops Island Navy land-based test site with the aim of reducing program risk. The laser is scheduled for delivery to a shipyard for integration next year.

In addition to being built into the ship’s structure, HELIOS will become an integrated component of the ship’s Aegis combat system. HELIOS is being developed under a $150 million contract awarded to the company in 2018.

“Our adversaries are rapidly developing sophisticated weapons and the threats to the US Navy’s fleet are getting more challenging,” said Hamid Salim, vice president, Advanced Product Solutions at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems. “Our warfighters need this capability and capacity now to effectively counter threats such as unmanned aerial systems and fast attack vessels.”

The high-energy fiber laser is designed to counter unmanned aerial systems and small boats. It will also deliver a long-range ISR capability and counter-UAS dazzler capability with a dazzler designed to obscure adversarial UAS-based ISR capabilities.