Breaking Defense: DARPA, AFRL to Test-Fire General Atomics-Built Laser in January

AFC130j EBizThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory will perform in January live-fire tests on a General Atomics-built laser weapon that works to generate up to 150 kilowatts of energy, Breaking Defense reported Monday.

Richard Whittle writes the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System based-laser platform will be test-fired at various aerial targets at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in the next 18 months.

Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, chief of the Air Force Special Operations Command, said he expects the HELLADS laser weapon to be installed on an AC-130 aircraft by 2020.

“The reason that I want it on an AC-130 is, right now, when an AC-130 starts firing kinetic weaponry, everybody knows you’re there,” Heithold told Breaking Defense.

“What I want on the airplane is to be able to silently disable something.”

General Atomics announced in September that its aeronautical systems unit has introduced a project that seeks to integrate the HELLADS-based laser technology with its Predator C Avenger unmanned aerial system.

“[HELLADS] is designed to counter rockets, artillery, mortars; counter cruise missiles; counter air[craft]; defend against surface to air missiles,” said Michael Perry, a vice president at General Atomics responsible for laser programs.

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