11:52 GMT +318 August 2019
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    US Army to Upgrade High-Powered Tactical Laser For Fight Against Drone Swarms

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    The US Army is working with officials within the US Navy to help upgrade its High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) so that it can better combat aerial strikes from enemy drone swarms.

    Military.com reported that the HEL TVD system, which is designed to fit atop Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, currently features a 100-kilowatt laser. However, officials want the kilowattage to be increased past the 200 mark.

    "The intent is to work with the Navy, and we are doing that right now, in order to increase the power of that laser system from beyond 100-kilowatt up to maybe the 250-kilowatt mark," Army Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said at a Tuesday event.

    The push from the military branch is a result of officials’ desire to do away with expensive munitions. Ostrowski indicated that rather than “shooting $100,000 missiles at $7,000” unmanned aerial systems, a powerful laser would instead provide the service with an “unlimited magazine” during operations.

    Although it’s uncertain whether the Navy’s program will be able to successfully transfer over to the Army, Ostrowski noted that the service does not intend to rule out the system for its members. Additionally, the US Army is interested in fielding four 50-kilowatt Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) systems by fiscal year 2022. 

    According to Army-Technology, the service is looking to deploy its laser technology in various situations, including explosive ordnance disposal. “Rocket artillery, mortar and UAS [unmanned aerial systems] is just the beginning of where we see lasers going in the future,” Ostrowski said.

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    laser weapons, US Navy, US Army
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