A Stryker combat vehicle with an integrated 50kW-class high energy laser defeated multiple 60mm mortar rounds in a recent series of live-fire exercise organized by Raytheon Intelligence & Space and Kord.
The directed energy weapon system installed on the Stryker is part of the US Army’s Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense, or DE M-SHORAD.
According to Raytheon, DE M-SHORAD acquired, tracked, targeted and defeated multiple mortars and successfully accomplished multiple tests simulating real-world scenarios.
Continuing to put the DE M-SHORAD system to the test, the recent operational assessment at White Sands Missile Range also included defeating several small, medium and large drones.
“Soldiers in the field face increasingly complex threats, and our combat-proven sensors, software, and lasers are ready to give them a new level of protection,” said Annabel Flores, president of Electronic Warfare Systems for Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “The Army gave us our toughest challenge yet — countering rockets, artillery and mortars — and we took an essential step on the path to providing the maneuverable, short range air defense Soldiers need.”
Raytheon announced the milestone after the US Army revealed plans to buy an additional eight vehicle prototypes through fiscal year 2024. The service laid out the plans in November last, following a combat shoot-off at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in July.
The DE M-SHORAD effort is aimed at protecting soldiers against various aerial threats, including unmanned aircraft systems, rotary-wing aircraft, rockets, artillery and mortars.
Kord serves as the primary integrator of the system on the Stryker combat vehicle, while Raytheon Intelligence & Space provides the 50kW-class high energy laser weapon module, a specialized radar acquisition system, a beam control system and targeting sensor.
“This team once again showed that the HEL system is fully-integrated and ready to provide protection against complex threats,” said Byron Bright, President of KBR Government Solutions. “With an effectively infinite magazine and near-zero cost per shot, HEL is now the proven answer to asymmetric threats like drones and mortars.”
The joint industry team, which includes Rocky Research for power and thermal management, General Dynamics Land Systems for the Stryker platform, and Applied Technology Associates for additional sensors, is preparing to deliver four DE M-SHORAD units to Army Brigade Combat Teams in 2022.