Buckle your seatbelts folks, because we’re on the highway to the laser zone.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced on Monday that it had delivered its High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance weapon system, also known as HELIOS, to the Navy for installation on an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.
We go now to an artist’s rendering of the device:
Developed under a $150 million contract, the 60-kilowatt HELIOS system offers triple the power of the 20 kW AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, that the Navy unveiled on the USS Ponce was back in 2014.
While the LaWS was repurposed as a “land-based test asset” for the HELIOS system after the Ponce was decommissioned in October 2017, the latter is intended to function as an offensive weapon system designed to destroy incoming drones and cripple small attack craft.
Indeed, the delivery of the high-powered laser weapon follows a recent Navy demonstration “of full laser power in excess of the 60 kW requirement,” according to Lockheed Martin.
“We are going to burn the boats, if you will, and move forward with this technology,” Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, head of the service’s surface warfare directorate, said during an industry summit in Washington, D.C.