It’s finally here: Lockheed Martin delivers 60+ kW laser to the US Navy

A total game-changer.
Loukia Papadopoulos
HELIOS Integrated Weapon System
HELIOS Integrated Weapon System

Lockheed Martin

There was exciting news for the US Navy last week as it was announced that Lockheed Martin finally delivered the 60+ kW-class high-energy laser with integrated optical-dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS), the first tactical laser weapon system to be integrated into existing ships. The weapon is also capable of providing directed energy capability to the fleet.

Enhancing overall combat system effectiveness

“Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy share a common vision and enthusiasm for developing and providing disruptive laser weapon systems,” said in the statement Rick Cordaro, vice president of Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions.

“HELIOS enhances the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for Sailors, and we understand we must provide scalable solutions customized to the Navy’s priorities. HELIOS represents a solid foundation for incremental delivery of robust and powerful laser weapon system capabilities.”

HELIOS has been described as more than just a high-energy laser as its system’s multi-mission capabilities include long-range Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), and Counter UAS-mounted ISR (C-ISR) Dazzler.

It’s finally here: Lockheed Martin delivers 60+ kW laser to the US Navy
HELIOS is more than a laser system.

“The HELIOS system’s deep magazine, low cost per kill, speed of light delivery, and precision response enable it to address Fleet needs now, and its mature, scalable architecture supports increased laser power levels to counter additional threats in the future. HELIOS leverages technology building blocks from significant, long-term internal research and development projects that continue to advance the Navy’s goal for fielding laser weapon systems aboard surface ships and putting the Navy on the right side of the cost curve for threat engagements,” states Lockheed Martin’s page on the new weapon.

The laser’s development has been ongoing since January 2018 and has seen some impressive breakthroughs in advanced technology.

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“System engineering rigor, robust system integration and test, and leveraging of mature technology are cornerstones of the successfully executed HELIOS program and enable on-time delivery of warfighting capability and significant risk reduction for future systems,” said Joe Ottaviano, Lockheed Martin Business Development director.

“Together with our exceptional Navy-industry partnership, we are leveraging industry-leading laser technology and decades of ship integration and combat system integration expertise.”

An adaptable system

The end result is a powerful system that is adaptable to many ship types and combat systems, such as aircraft carriers and big-deck amphibs with the Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS).

“This is a transformational new weapon system. Laser weapon systems are no longer years away; they’re here now,” said Hamid Salim, vice president, Advanced Product Solutions at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems.

Both the press release and HELIOS’ webpage did not specify where exactly the new system will be deployed, but one thing is for sure: wherever it is used it will give the US Navy a tactical advantage that has never been experienced before. If you want to know more about how laser weapon systems work, watch our informative video here.

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