In the scorching desert of the White Sands Missile Range, a laser weapon built by Raytheon Technologies, mounted on an armored vehicle, shot down several mortar cartridges during four weeks of testing, the company said.
The test, part of an Army development program for new types of defense against flying projectiles and other threats, also involved the laser, defeating a series of drones. The demonstration is part of a growing effort to ensure that, on future battlefields, troops can be protected from the range of attacks they may face.
Raytheon describes his target weapon as a 50-kilowatt high-energy laser. The company worked with the Kord subsidiary of defense contractor KBR to integrate that laser into a Stryker combat vehicle. Strykers are eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers operated by a crew of two and with space for 9 troops to travel. The body of the vehicle is flexible enough that the US military has adapted it for a variety of roles, including as a base platform for a number of existing anti-aircraft weapons.
A laser-armed Stryker vehicle can shoot down drones
This role is called “Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense” or M-SHORAD and is currently performed by Strykers, with a turret that can launch Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Hellfire missiles, both of which can be used against tanks and aircraft. It is, in addition to a 30 mm cannon, and a regular machine gun, as well as sensors that help it find targets.
All of these weapons are useful against many known threats, such as attack helicopters and planes, but the military itself has recognized this as a difference for a longer-term solution, calling Stinger-armed Strykers “IM-SHORAD, ”With I for“ Interim ”.
What the military is aiming to launch and what the Raytheon has demonstrated .
The military has long been interested in finding tools and weapons that can protect forces as they move from low-altitude attacks, where drones fly and mortar cartridges fly over the hills toward their targets. This is a difficult problem: stopping rocket, artillery or mortar attacks requires a system that can detect the oncoming attack, trace the projectile’s trajectory and then use a weapon to try to destroy as many projectiles as possible.