Raytheon receives U.S. Air Force contract for HELWS high energy laser weapon systems

Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems has been awarded a $13.1 million modification (P00002) to previously awarded agreement FA8650-19-9-9326 for High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS).

Raytheon receives U.S. Air Force contract for HELWS high energy laser weapon systems
High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS) mounted on Polaris MRZR (Picture source: Rayhteon)

This modification provides for the purchase of one additional HELWS being produced under the basic agreement, including outside continental U.S. (OCONUS) field assessment for purposes of experimentation.

Experimentation includes, but is not limited to, six months of in-field operation by Air Force personnel against unmanned aerial systems threats. In addition, the experimentation includes, but is not limited to, full mission capable, partial mission capable and non-mission capable operator training in theater maintenance of systems while collecting availability; reliability, maintainability and supportability data; and system operation against real-world or simulated hostile vignettes without disrupting other necessary installation operations.

Work will be performed at OCONUS locations and is expected to be completed by Nov. 1, 2020. The total cumulative face value of the agreement is $36,939,636. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $13,121,979 are being obligated at the time of the award. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon's HELWS (High Energy Laser Weapon System) uses pure energy to detect, identify and instantly take down drones. It can target a single drone with precision. It is paired with Raytheon's Multi-spectral Targeting System. It uses invisible beams of light to defeat hostile UASs. Mounted on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle, the system detects, identifies, tracks and engages drones.

Raytheon’s innovative laser weapon systems with 360-degree coverage for sea, land and air applications, identifies, tracks, and defends against enemy missiles, mortars, unmanned vehicles, swarming boat attacks and other "close-in" defense situations. They provide precise, clean, low-cost engagements with near-infinite magazines. The systems generate high power output in compact and rugged packages. The open architecture features modular, scalable designs that can be integrated on a variety of tactical platforms making them available for immediate use in combat. Raytheon has also partnered with U.S. Special Operations Command and Project Management Office Apache Attack Helicopter to demonstrate the feasibility of high energy lasers on rotary-wing aircraft. Confirmed on the AH-64 Apache, the HEL delivered a near-instantaneous response proving reliability and lethality in operational combat zones.