As a defense against the growing number of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) used for military applications, Raytheon delivered its first high-energy laser-based counter-UAS (C-UAS) to the U.S. Air Force earlier this month. The C-UAS, integrated into a ground vehicle, features Raytheon’s multi-spectral targeting system (MTS) with electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), laser designation, and laser illumination capabilities integrated within a single sensor package.
The system will be deployed overseas as part of a one-year-long USAF experiment to train operators and evaluate the system’s effectiveness under real-world operating conditions. The company’s MTS line of sensors have logged nearly four million flight hours around the world in support of U.S. military, civilian, and allied missions. Once a threat drone has been targeted, the powerful C-UAS can neutralize it in seconds.
“Five years ago, few people worried about the drone threat,” said Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “Now, we hear about attacks or incursions all the time. Our customers saw this coming and asked us to develop a ready-now counter-UAS capability. We did just that by going from the drawing board to delivery in less than 24 months.”
The high-energy laser weapon system was installed on a small all-terrain vehicle where it can provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and dozens of laser shots running on a single charge from a 220-V outlet. It can provide more extended operation when working with a generator.