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Boeing delivers first upgraded compact laser weapon systems to US military

Photo: Boeing

US defense major Boeing announced it has upgraded and delivered the first batch of previously deployed Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) units to the US military.

The company said it expects to complete upgrades that increase the systems’ maximum beam power and reliability in the first quarter of 2021.

“The upgraded units will provide warfighters with enhanced protection against larger and more numerous hostile unmanned aircraft systems,” said Kurt Sorenson, Boeing program manager for CLWS. “They will also enable them to defeat threats more quickly and efficiently.”

The modular, high energy air defense laser system continues to prove its capabilities in exercises. During a recent live fire drill in Yuma, Arizona, DoD trainees successfully defeated 12 out of 12 threats while operating a CLWS unit.

“Operators continue to have great success using the system to acquire, track and defeat hostile targets with minimal training required,” said Sorenson.

Recently, during a Sept. 3 field test of the US Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System, Boeing’s CLWS successfully defended a force protection convoy against unmanned aircraft systems while mounted on a small utility task vehicle.

The company says the system, which is said to come in several power outputs ranging from two to ten kilowatts, has already defeated 300 drones in dozens of demonstrations, scenarios and environments.

As the first Department of Defense approved ground-based laser, CLWS is in use by the US Marine Corps and has been mounted on MRZR all-terrain vehicles. The army is also testing CLWS as part of its Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL) program.