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Boeing wins new HEL laser deal

Boeing said the HEL TD program would show that a mobile, solid-state laser weapon system would have the capability to defend forces against rocket, artillery and mortar fire.
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Aug 26, 2008
Boeing has won a new $36 million U.S. Army contract to push ahead with its work on creating a new mobile, high-energy laser weapon system to knock out incoming rockets, artillery shells and mortar rounds.

Boeing said in a statement last week that on Aug. 15 the Pentagon approved Phase II of the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator contract, under which the company will finish designing and go on to construct a rugged beam control system on a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. The company said it would then go ahead with checking out and assessing the new system.

After this, Boeing said it would "develop the system-engineering requirements for the entire HEL TD laser weapon system." The company said it had finished preliminary design work on the project's beam control system a few weeks ago.

"This contract award is an important win for Boeing because it supports a cornerstone of the Army's high-energy laser program," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "HEL TD will give war fighters a transformational capability to counter the difficult threats posed by rockets, artillery shells and mortar projectiles."

"Boeing spent the past year developing the preliminary design of the HEL TD beam control system, and we appreciate the confidence the Army has shown in our efforts by awarding us these contract options to continue working on the program," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems.

Boeing said the HEL TD program would show that a mobile, solid-state laser weapon system would have the capability to defend forces against rocket, artillery and mortar fire.

The current contract will also fund the resources necessary to eventually transform the research and development project into "a full-fledged Army acquisition program," the company said.

Boeing said it brings to the project unrivaled expertise in the creation of high-energy laser systems. Boeing already develops the Airborne Laser, the Advanced Tactical Laser, the Tactical Relay Mirror System and the Laser Avenger.

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