Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and other partner companies have received a $10 million contract for further development of the 100-kilowatt High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator program.
Lockheed announced the contract Monday, and said a preliminary design review for the program is expected to start in January 2019. The companies recently completed a system requirements review and technical baseline update
"The HEL TVD program will be pivotal for the warfighters while they are protecting our country. Dynetics, Lockheed Martin and our partners are providing a safe and simple high energy laser weapon system that crews can operate for years to come and across various terrains," Ronnie Chronister, vice president of contracts at Dynetics, said in a press release.
"We pulled together a cross-industry leading team, which has the expertise and knowledge to understand exactly what is needed. We believe that our solution will be straightforward and will be the type of system that will preferred by the Army," Chronister said.
The laser will be mounted on the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, a series of military trucks produced by Oshkosh. The laser is a derivative of the U.S. Army's Robust Electric Laser Initiative program.
Team Dynetics is one of two competitors seeking to build to build a laser system will be tested in 2022 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The other team, led by Raytheon, received a $10 million contract from the Army at the beginning of July for development of the system.
After the design review early next year, one of the two teams is expected to be awarded a $130 million contract to develop and demonstrate the laser, and integrate it into an FMTV.
The Department of Defense has been experimenting with laser technology for decades, with several low-power models having already been tested. A 100 MW model with its increased power would be capable of swiftly destroying threats like drones, artillery fire and missiles.
Lasers could provide a relatively low cost option for intercept missions since it would rely on electricity instead of expensive ammunition. The Army has been trying to develop a practical battlefield laser system since the 1970's.
Chemical lasers have been found to be too bulky and inefficient, but advances in solid-state electrical lasers have allowed the systems to be mounted on standard vehicles.