The Army’s acquisition chief Bruce Jette has confirmed that the U.S. Army has plans to equipped Stryker combat vehicles with a modern laser weapon systems.
Soldiers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, have already been able to take down small unmanned aerial systems with a laser at the 10-kilowatt level.
Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL), a Stryker equipped with a 5-kW laser, has successfully engaged targets, including unmanned aerial systems, during Maneuver Fires Integration Experiments at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and at the Joint Warfighting Assessment in Germany. At both MFIX-18 and JWA 18.1, the MEHEL was operated by Soldiers.
This is just one system, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Technical Center is seeing positive results from its four efforts: High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck, High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator, Mobile Experimental High Energy Laser, and Multi-Mission High Energy Laser.
Strykers with 50-kilowatt lasers will take a few more years to develop until they can begin to be fielded in 2024, Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette, the Army’s deputy chief of staff also added.
A 100-kilowatt laser on a larger vehicle, called the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator, will also be tested against a variety of targets in fiscal 2022.
“When you try to shrink all that down and keep a continuous beam, it becomes very difficult,” Bruce Jette said.