US Reaches Key Milestone On Laser Air Defense; Lockheed Martin Confirms DEIMOS Demonstration Success

A new US-directed energy or laser air defense interceptor system has achieved its “first light” milestone in development, Lockheed Martin announced in a press release on Monday.

“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 release said.

Lockheed Martin explained in the release that the DEIMOS system is a rugged, tactical laser.

“The 50 kW-class laser weapon system brings another critical piece to help ensure the US Army has a layered air defense capability. DEIMOS has been tailored from our prior laser weapon successes to affordably meet the Army’s larger modernization strategy for air and missile defense,” the release said.

The DEIMOS first light demonstration was a crucial milestone along the path to helping the Army perform its mission to deliver a maneuverable laser system capable of negating unmanned aerial systems, rotary-wing aircraft and rockets, artillery and mortars, the release added.

File Image: DEW

Earlier, Lockheed Martin joined the project of Israeli defense technology company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to create a laser-based missile defense system dubbed Iron Beam, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

An operational laser model is expected to be deployed as an experiment on the Gaza Strip border in two to three years, the report said.

According to an agreement with Lockheed Martin, systems similar to Iron Beam will subsequently be created for the US market and a number of other countries, according to the newspaper.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ CEO Yoav Har-Even was quoted as saying by the newspaper that the strategic cooperation agreement with Lockheed Martin is a force multiplier for the Israeli company and the country’s economy.

In March, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that the country would allocate hundreds of millions of shekels for the development and production of a laser air defense system to intercept missiles, mortar shells and drones. The Iron Beam’s distinctive feature is the low price of use and almost unlimited ammunition.

Last year in September, Lockheed Martin announced that it has handed over to the US Defense Department the most powerful laser it has ever built that is capable of generating 300 kilowatts (300Kw) of power.

“Lockheed Martin delivered to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering OUSD (R&E) a new benchmark: a tactically-relevant electric 300kW-class laser, the most powerful laser that Lockheed Martin has produced to date,” the release said.

The new laser is ready to integrate with the Defense Department’s demonstration efforts, including the US Army’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) Demonstrator laser weapon system.

“The OUSD (R&E) selected Lockheed Martin in 2019 to scale its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300 kW-class level as part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI) and the team recently achieved that milestone ahead of schedule.”

Lockheed Martin has increased the power and efficiency and reduced the weight and volume of continuous-wave high-energy lasers, thereby also reducing risk for future fielding efforts of high-power laser weapon systems, according to the release.

By: Sputnik News Agency