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U.S. Army demos laser weapon with Stryker vehicle

By Ryan Maass
U.S. Army demos laser weapon with Stryker vehicle
U.S. Army personnel tested its Stryker armored vehicles ability to defend against unmanned aircraft threats using a 5kW laser weapon. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

March 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Army personnel demonstrated combat capabilities using a Stryker armored vehicle integrated with a MEHEL laser weapon.

The weapon tested was the MEHEL 2.0, an upgraded version of the original 2kW device. The newer variant is able to produce 5kW beams.

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The demonstration was conducted by a team of members from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Army Forces Strategic Command. During the event, the laser-equipped Stryker showcased its ability to defend against unmanned aircraft systems.

"The purpose of the JIDO UAS Hard-Kill Challenge was to assess and look at technology... to do a 'hard-kill' shoot down of Group 1 [unmanned aircraft systems] and inform decision-makers on the current state of technology and how it can deal with single and multiple targets," demonstration lead Adam Aberle explained in a press release.

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Aberle went on to praise the platform's successful performance in repelling UAV threats, and discussed how the test revealed system limitations as a result of the MEHEL's upgrade from a 2kW to a 5kW capability.

"We learned from the event, and we have plans to correct those deficiencies for future activities," he added. "We learned the 5kW laser was able to defeat the targets. We were able to verify and show that we could put a radar and a laser on a platform so it could self-cue to targets and that was very successful."

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Stryker vehicles are eight-wheeled combat platforms used to boost battlefield mobility, survivability and versatility. The vehicles are typically armed with an M2 .50 caliber machine gun or an MK19 40mm grenade launcher mounted in a Protector remote weapon station.

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