Department of Defense Directed Energy Weapons: Background and Issues for Congress

High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS)

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High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS)
The High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) is to serve as a mobile C-UAS capability for airbase defense (see Figure 5). The system comprises a laser weapon and multispectral targeting system mounted on the back of a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle and can reportedly operate at distances of up to 3 km HELWS developer Raytheon claims the laser can fire dozens of shots using a single charge from a standard volt outlet, and an indefinite number of shots if connected to an external power source such as a generator The Air Force acquired the first
Joe Pappalardo, The Air Force Is Deploying Its First Drone-Killing Microwave Weapon Popular Mechanics, September 24, 2019, at; and Theresa Hitchens, AF Says Lasers Are Being Field Tested, but NOT THOR or Other Microwave Weapons
Breaking Defense, December 22, 2020, at but-not-thor-or-other-microwave-weapon/.
Sara Sirota, “AFRL to award Raytheon sole-sourced contract for directed energy weapon Inside Defense, October
29, 2020, at
Raytheon, “Raytheon Intelligence & Space delivers another Air Force laser system ready for operational use September 14, 2020, delivers-another-air-force-laser-system-ready; and Nathan Strout, “Raytheon awarded $15.5 million to upgrade laser weapon C4ISRNET, April 7, 2021, at upgrade-laser-weapon/.
Kyle Mizokami, The Air Force Mobilizes Its Laser and Microwave Weapons Abroad Popular Mechanics, April 9,

Department of Defense Directed Energy Weapons Background and Issues for Congress

Congressional Research Service
HELWS in October 2019 and reportedly deployed HELWS overseas for field assessments in April 2020.
The Air Force additionally awarded Raytheon a $15.5 million contract for an upgraded version of HELWS in April 2021.
This version is to be delivered unmounted on pallets for potential use with different platforms.”

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