Rolls-Royce to Launch Hybrid Power System for Military Laser Weapons

Jeff Brody

A top official from Rolls-Royce said the company is set to unveil a new hybrid system it quietly built for nearly a decade to power and operate laser weapons, Defense News reported Thursday.  

The company's LibertyWorks division led the development that integrated power and thermal management systems to operate a 100-kilowatt-class laser weapon.

Mark Wilson, chief operating officer of LibertyWorks, said the company is ready to present the power system to the public as it moves to testing stage. 

LibertyWorks equipped the technology with the M250 helicopter engine, which helps generate nearly 300 kilowatts of electrical power and 200 kilowatts of thermal management capacity. 

The power system can fit along with the laser on the same vehicle and uses a separate battery to provide “instantaneous power“ to the weapon. 

“You can start running on the battery and then switch over to the turbine engine once it's up to speed,“ Wilson said. The engine can also recharge the battery when running.

Rolls-Royce plans to conduct tests through end of May or June as part of the preparation for fielding the power system with Lockheed Martin's laser weapon.

Lockheed is competing against Raytheon to offer the U.S. Army a 100-kilowatt laser technology.

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