Lockheed Martin has secured a contract to develop and deliver 300-kilowatt-class laser weapon systems for the US Army.
The agreement orders up to four units, which will be delivered to support the service’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) prototype program.
Indirect Fire Protection Capability-High Energy Laser
IFPC-HEL is a ground-based air defense weapon designed to complement other layered defense systems against enemy airborne assets.
It provides 360-degree coverage, securing warfighters, fixed installations, and semi-fixed sites from incoming projectiles as well as rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.
The mobile platform incorporates an interceptor, launcher, and magazine to support cruise missile defense, counter-drone, and anti-warhead missions.
IFPC-HEL will use the US Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System as its primary mission command and the Sentinel radar as its sensor.
The laser weapon is expected to address the gap between the army’s short-range air defense or SHORAD systems, such as the Patriot air and missile defense system, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD system.
“Winning the IFPC-HEL prototype contract is the result of several years of complex program evolution, strategic investments and partnership with the Army on this program,” Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Weapons VP Rick Cordaro stated.
“Our mature directed energy technology enables Lockheed Martin to provide speed, agility, and 21st Century Security solutions to the Army.”
Army’s Laser Development Progress
Lockheed Martin in 2019 conceptualized the transition of its 100-kilowatt High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator into a 300-kilowatt IFPC-HEL demonstrator in collaboration with defense industry partners.
The firm then secured a contract from the US Department of Defense to produce a compact, ruggedized 300-kilowatt-class laser system.
In 2022, Lockheed Martin delivered the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative laser or HELSI to be equipped into the future IFPC-HEL prototype.