The US Army has awarded BlueHalo $45.7 million to develop a 20-kilowatt high-energy laser, which it will mount on Infantry Squad Vehicles to protect them against drones.
The base award, which includes a further $30.2 million in options, will see the company develop a prototype of the Army Multi-Purpose High-Energy Laser (AMP-HEL) system.
The US Army plans to deploy the weapon to protect Division and Brigade Combat Teams against growing drone threats on the battlefield.
BlueHalo will leverage its many years of experience developing directed energy and optical targeting and tracking systems, including its deployed LOCUST Laser Weapon Systems (LWS).
“Our LOCUST LWS has successfully engaged and defeated numerous drone threats across a wide variety of background, clutter, slant range, and threat conditions,” BlueHalo CEO Jonathan Moneymaker said.
“BlueHalo prides itself on being the protective ring around our forces. The AMP-HEL system will deliver a paradigm changing capability to our military, providing highly maneuverable protection for our warfighters on the ground so that they can achieve mission success and return home safely.”
BlueHalo Contracts for US Armed Forces
The AMP-HEL award is the latest in a series of BlueHalo contracts with the US armed forces.
Last August, the US Department of Defense awarded the company a contract to supply its TITAN counter-drone system.
The firm also received a 10-year contract from the US Air Force Research Laboratory last June to construct a directed energy simulation range to test and train with high-energy laser weapons.
Offensive Drone Swarm Platform
In addition to developing high-energy laser counter-drone capabilities and associated platforms, BlueHalo has also developed an offensive drone swarm platform.
The US Army awarded the Virginia-based company a $14-million contract to provide its HIVE small unmanned aircraft system in March 2022.
The company said that these systems and the AMP-HEL combine the latest in precision optical and laser hardware, advanced software, artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms, processing, and adaptive countermeasures to track, identify and engage a wide variety of targets.
“AMP-HEL marks another historic step for the deployment of more HEL systems and the modernization of our national defense capabilities,” BlueHalo Chief Operating Officer Trip Ferguson said.
“Through our layered defense solutions like LOCUST, BlueHalo continues to meet the toughest challenges with soldier-centered technology and inspired engineering–safeguarding our warfighters and nation.”