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Boeing touts success of mobile laser weapon

A mobile laser weapon system successfully cut through adverse weather to engage aerial targets during demonstrations conducted by Boeing and the U.S. Army.
By Richard Tomkins   |   Sept. 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM   |   Comments

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A high-energy laser demonstrator from Boeing has successfully engaged numerous aerial targets in adverse weather conditions.

The tests of the laser system, which was mounted on a truck, were recently conducted by Boeing and the U.S. Army at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

More than 150 targets were involved. They included unmanned aerial vehicles and 60mm mortars, Boeing said.

"Under windy, rainy and foggy weather conditions in Florida, these engagements were the most challenging to date with a 10-kilowatt laser on HEL MD," said Dave DeYoung, Boeing Directed Energy Systems director. "As proven at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 2013 and at Eglin Air Force Base this spring, HEL MD is reliable and capable of consistently acquiring, tracking and engaging a variety of targets in different environments, demonstrating the potential military utility of directed energy systems."

HEL MD stands for High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator.

"With capabilities like HEL MD, Boeing is demonstrating that directed energy technologies can augment existing kinetic strike weapons and offer a significant reduction in cost per engagement. With only the cost of diesel fuel, the laser system can fire repeatedly without expending valuable munitions or additional manpower."

Boeing said that a 50- or 60-kilowatt laser will soon be installed and demonstrated on HEL MD.

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