The US Army works on developing battlefield laser gun

What's better on the battlefield of the future than swarming UAVs or waves of rockets? The U.S. Army thinks one answer might be a battlefield laser, and Huntsville company Dynetics has won a $10 million contract to help develop one, as Lee Roop reports on Alabama Business.

Battlefield laser gun under development for the US Army
Lockheed Martin - Dynetics' HEL TVD (Illustration: Lockheed Martin)

It's a 100-kilowatt high energy laser, and it rides on top of a tactical vehicle. The whole system is abbreviated as the HEL TVD. Dynetics is working with Lockheed Martin to provide the Army with it. The idea is "a safe and simple high energy laser weapon system that crews can operate for years and across various terrains," Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics, vice president of contracts, said Monday.

What makes the laser attractive to the U.S. Army? "Their inexpensive cost per shot and deep magazine," Dynetics said. Unmanned aerial systems can be deployed against in "swarms," the company said, and a truck-mounted laser is a fast-moving response. Dynetics and its team partners have completed one step of the process, a System Requirements Review, and the next step is a preliminary design review in January 2019.

The Dynetics team is one of two remaining contractors competing to build a demonstrator model for testing in 2022. The winner gets a $130 million contract to finish the design, build and put together the system for field testing. Dynetics' announcement comes during the annual Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville. The company is one of more than 100 companies, organizations and universities attending and exhibiting at the conference.