The world’s largest aerospace company Boeing announced that its Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) recently completed a series of key demonstrations with the U.S. Air Force and Army.
The high-energy 5kW CLWS successfully completed several demonstrations of its capabilities, validating its readiness for deployment, according to a recent company news release.
Test operators used handheld, game-style controllers to acquire, track and disable small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in flight. With the CLWS in a fixed-site configuration on a standard shipping container, the first-time system operators successfully defeated approximately 30 targets.
“We received great feedback on the ease of use and maturity of the CLWS system, and its seamless integration into the command and control (C2) network,” said Boeing CLWS Program Manager Kurt Sorenson. “In the past year, Boeing has demonstrated CLWS capabilities with first-time military operators at five test venues. They successfully engaged and defeated hundreds of UAVs with a very high success rate.”
CLWS contains an integrated counter-Unmanned Aerial System package, including a radar system for detection and a high-resolution sensor system for target identification and aimpoint selection. During the MFIX engagement, the system was successfully tasked to provide target verification using its “slew to cue” capability, which allows the radar sensor to tell the camera where to point and engage the target.
Two other High Energy Laser (HEL) weapons originally developed and delivered by Boeing were also successfully demonstrated: the Army Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL) on the STRYKER platform, and the large-aperture, higher-power Army High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT).
“Boeing’s continuous development of a range of high-energy laser weapons, from the Compact Laser Weapon System to higher-power, tactical-class systems, demonstrates the maturity of the technology,” said Ron Dauk, Boeing Laser & Electro-Optical Systems program manager. “Our proven CLWS systems are ready to provide Force Protection capability for Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) to today’s warfighter.”
Boeing delivered multiple CLWS units in 2018 to a U.S. Department of Defense customer. These units have been deployed overseas for nearly six months as part of a limited user evaluation.