Raytheon announced yesterday that, in collaboration with the US Army Apache Program Management Office and US Special Operations Command, it recently completed a successful flight test of a high-energy laser system onboard an Apache AH-64 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
CAPTION: US Army AH-64 Apache fitted with Raytheon high-energy laser test capsule. US Army photo.
VP of Advanced Concept and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems Art Morrish said the demonstration marked the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds.
“Tests achieved all primary and secondary goals, providing solid experimental evidence for the feasibility of high-resolution, multi-band targeting sensor performance and beam propagation supportive of High Energy Laser (HEL) capability for the rotary-wing attack mission,” Mr Monash said.
“Additionally, the system performed as expected while tracking and directing energy on a number of targets.
“The design of future HEL systems will be shaped by the data collected on the impact of vibration, dust and rotor downwash on HEL beam control and steering.
“Our goal is to pull the future forward, and this data collection shows we’re on the right track.
“By combining combat-proven sensors, with multiple laser technologies, we can bring this capability to the battlefield sooner rather than later.”
In this recent test, Raytheon coupled a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System – an advanced electro-optical infrared sensor – with a laser.
Mr Monash said MTS provided targeting information, situational awareness and beam control.
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