Laser-powered weapons are in high demand due to changing dynamics of modern warfare. Instead of looking to buy more sophisticated and expensive missiles, defense forces are now relying on cheap-to-build drones that can be used in large numbers.
A laser-based weapon is an effective tool against weaponized drone swarms, missiles, and other airborne threats. With increased power, these laser weapons can be used against larger aircraft as well.
The U.S. military has been working with the defense industry to develop new-generation laser weapons
In a press release on 23 January, Lockheed Martin said “Lockheed Martin achieved first light from the Directed Energy Interceptor for Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense System (DEIMOS) system, which verifies that the laser’s optical performance parameters align with the system design parameters,”
The DEIMOS system, a rugged tactical laser air defense interceptor system achieved its first light milestone in development on 13 January at the company’s laser facility in Bothell, Washington state. The test measured the beam quality of the system and evaluated the spectral beam combination (SBC) architecture of this 50 kW Directed Energy Interceptor.
DEIMOS will eventually compete against a system designed by Kord Technologies and Raytheon. It will be ready for field integration tests by 2024. The DEIMOS system will be integrated into the Stryker combat vehicles used by the U.S. Army.