The U.S. Air Force has selected Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) to develop two prototypes of a High Energy Laser Weapon System for experimental use under a $23.8M sole-source contract.
USAF will obligate the full contract amount at the time of award and expects the company to complete the HELWS project by Nov. 1 of next year, the Department of Defense said Friday.
The Washington Post reported Friday the service branch plans to evaluate the potential of the system to defeat small unmanned aerial system threats over a 12-month field assessment that will take place outside the continental U.S.
According to the report, the 10-kilowatt laser technology is designed to integrate with a small ground-based vehicle and employ a video game controller-like interface.
“What we really want to do is figure out how we can deploy these systems in an environment where our warfighters work and train every day,” Evan Hunt, director of high energy laser and counter-UAS at Raytheon, told The Post in an interview.
Michael Jirjis, lead for the Directed Energy Weapons Experimentation Campaign at USAF, said the HELWS program will involve the first operational field test of such technology and engagement across the service's entire enterprise.