by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) May 25, 2015
A new laser from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is to undergo field tests after successfully demonstrating its laser power and beam quality.
The field testing of the High-Energy Laser Area Defense System, or HELLADS, will begin this summer. The series of tests, funded by DARPA and the Air Force Research Laboratory, will be against rockets, mortars, vehicles and surrogate surface-to-air missiles at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
HELLADS was developed for DARPA by General Atomics.
"The technical hurdles were daunting, but it is extremely gratifying to have produced a new type of solid-state laser with unprecedented power and beam quality for its size," said Rich Bagnell, DARPA program manager. "The HELLADS laser is now ready to be put to the test on the range against some of the toughest tactical threats our warfighters face."
Following the field-testing, DARPA intends to make HELLADS available to the military services for further refinement, testing or transition to operational use.
DARPA said its HELLADS program has been developing an electrically driven solid state laser at reduced size and weight over lasers of similar power for tactical use.
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