Boeing Laser System Redeploys Quickly, Then Tracks Targets And Fires Laser

Posted on March 25th, 2009 Admin

Space War
by Staff Writers
Albuquerque NM (SPX) Mar 25, 2009

Boeing has demonstrated its Re-Deployable High-Energy Laser System (RHELS) by quickly relocating the prototype weapon system from its Albuquerque development site to a test range, where it tracked ground and airborne targets and fired at a ground target.RHELS integrates a solid-state, thin-disk laser; an acquisition, pointing and tracking capability; beam control, fire control and thermal management systems; and a weapons operator console into a modified 40-foot-long shipping container transportable on a semitrailer.

Boeing began the two-week-long test Feb. 23 by packing up RHELS at its Albuquerque facility, moving it to a local government facility in Albuquerque and setting it up there, all in only a few hours.

With the system status re-established, RHELS then tracked in-flight aircraft and moving and stationary ground vehicles, and successfully fired its laser, hitting a remote target board on the ground. Due to test-range restrictions, the system did not fire at moving targets.

“RHELS demonstrates that a solid-state, high-energy laser weapon system can be transportable, rugged, supportable and affordable,” said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems.

“RHELS drives tactical directed-energy laser systems out of the laboratory and into the hands of the warfighter. Its transportability also means developers and warfighters have the opportunity to test this transformational, ultra-precision directed-energy weapon system at a number of ranges under varying conditions and against a diverse set of targets.”

In future tests, RHELS will fire its laser at in-flight targets and moving ground vehicles. RHELS is designed to engage rocket, artillery and mortar (RAM) projectiles, shoulder-fired missiles and unmanned aircraft, as well as a variety of ground-mobile tactical targets.

RHELS is a Boeing-funded initiative to show that directed energy weapons are maturing and are relevant to today’s battlefield. It also provides key lessons for the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD), a truck-mounted, high-energy laser, counter-RAM weapon system that Boeing is developing for the U.S. Army.

“RHELS reduces risk for HEL TD in a controlled but realistic setting,” said Lee Gutheinz, Boeing program director for High-Energy Laser/Electro-Optical Systems.

“It confirms the functionality of a compact, reliable and highly efficient laser system while maintaining future scalability to many tens of kilowatts of laser power.”

Boeing leads the way in developing high-energy laser systems for a variety of warfighter applications. These systems include Airborne Laser, Advanced Tactical Laser, HEL TD, Laser Avenger and the Tactical Relay Mirror System.

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