Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Laser Weapon Achieves First Light

The DEIMOS system is a tactical laser weapon system that can be integrated into the Stryker combat vehicle to deliver robust directed energy capability to the US Army's M-SHORAD mission By Joseph Macey / 30 Jan 2023
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Lockheed Martin’s Directed Energy Interceptor for Manoeuvre Short-Range Air Defense System (DEIMOS) has achieved first light in a laser lab demonstration.

Lockheed Martin’s 50 kW-class DEIMOS system is a ruggedized, tactical laser weapon that can be integrated into the Stryker combat vehicle to deliver robust directed energy capability to the U.S. Army’s Challenging Manoeuvre-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission.

Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions, said: “The 50 kW-class laser weapon system brings another critical piece to help ensure the U.S. Army has a layered air defense capability. DEIMOS has been tailored from our prior laser weapon successes to affordably meet the Army’s larger modernization strategy for air and missile defense and to improve mission success with 21st Century Security solutions.”

Lockheed Martin believes the DEIMOS first light demonstration is a crucial milestone along the path to helping the army perform its DE M-SHORAD mission, which is intended to deliver a manoeuvrable laser system capable of negating unmanned aerial systems, rotary-wing aircraft and rockets, artillery and mortars. First light measures the expected beam quality of the system while testing end-to-end performance of the low-cost Spectral Beam Combination (SBC) architecture. According to Lockheed Martin, the key benefit of the SBC is that the power can be scaled while retaining beam quality of the individual fiber lasers.

In 2022, Lockheed Martin demonstrated Layered Laser Defense (LLD) capability by defeating two surrogate cruise missiles at tactically relevant ranges. The LLD capability:

  • Shares many common elements with the DEIMOS system architecture, such as allowing for a single operator to engage and destroy SHORAD targets.
  • Can be seamlessly integrated into various platforms.
  • Can fit on tactical platforms such as a Stryker vehicle because it was designed with constraints in terms of size, weight and power (SWaP).

Lockheed Martin is said to be planning to expand the DEIMOS test program in 2023, culminating with field integration tests in 2024. This approach is designed to reduce risk, to enable soldier touchpoints and to provide proof points of compelling mission capabilities. The Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) is leading the DE M-SHORAD prototyping effort and is expected to transition the program to the Program Executive Office (PEO) Missiles & Space in 2024.

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