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USAF tests laser weapon system for protection against UAS during ABMS

Photo: Boeing

The latest field test of the US military’s “connect everything” Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) saw the US Air Force test the Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) as a means of protection against unmanned aerial systems.

During the September 3 event, also referred to as an onramp, the Boeing-developed CLWS defended a force protection convoy against UAS while mounted on a small utility task vehicle.

According to the developer, CLWS transmitted live video and readings on the threats, as well as various elements of the convoy, to operators at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, throughout the exercise. During the scenario, CLWS received a target cue through the network and defeated a simulated unmanned aircraft vehicle.

Developed to provide precision air defense capabilities for warfighters against unmanned aircraft systems – CLWS is one of the new technologies that the US Air Force sees as integral to the interconnected battlefield of the not-so-distant future.

ABMS is the service’s concept for joint all-domain operations – the future of integrated data sharing between all US service branches across the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. Once implemented, the system will enable everything from autonomous systems and piloted aircraft to ground vehicles and troops to share information via a cloud-based network to detect and respond to threats faster and more efficiently.

“In a future scenario, an integrated and networked direct energy capability – as demonstrated in this exercise by CLWS – would provide operators with vital information and a means to respond to threats at greater speeds,” said Ron Dauk, program manager of Boeing’s Laser & Electro-Optical Systems.