SAN DIEGO, October 27, 2021 – A team from General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing has been awarded a contract with the US Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) to develop a solid 300 kW class system of distributed gain high energy laser weapon. The objective of the project is a demonstration of the design.
The system will leverage GA-EMS ‘scalable distributed gain laser technology with Boeing’s beam director and precision acquisition, tracking and aiming software to provide a complete demonstrator with sophisticated laser and beam control.
Graphic representation of a directed energy system in use. Courtesy of General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems.
“The compact, high-power laser weapon subsystem prototype that GA-EMS will supply under this contract will produce lethal power beyond anything put into service to date,” said Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “This technology represents an advance capability for air and missile defense that is necessary to support military modernization efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multi-domain battlespace. ”
Michael Perry, vice president of lasers and advanced sensors at GA-EMS, described the laser as a packaged version of the distributed gain (DG) assay that has already been demonstrated. “The laser system uses two Gen 7 laser heads in a very compact and lightweight package. Recent architectural improvements have enabled our single beam DG lasers to achieve beam quality comparable to fiber lasers in a very simple design without the need for beam combining.
The contract is the latest in a series of managed energy systems projects and results. In August, the US Air Force’s research lab tested directed energy systems in a wind tunnel to prepare the technology for airborne use. This test followed the participation of the US Army RCCTO – alongside the Cross-functional Air and Missile Defense Team, the Fires Center for Excellence, and the Army Test and Evaluation Command – in short-range air defense ( DE-M-SHORAD) Combat Shoot Off, held at Fort Sill, Okla.