The goal of the HELLADS program is to develop a 150 kilowatt (kW) laser weapon system that is ten times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, enabling integration onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats. With a weight goal of less than five kilograms per kilowatt, and volume of three cubic meters for the laser system, HELLADS seeks to enable high-energy lasers to be integrated onto tactical aircraft, significantly increasing engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems.
The program has completed laboratory testing of a fundamental building block for HELLADS, a single laser module that successfully demonstrated the ability to achieve high power and beam quality from a significantly lighter and smaller laser. The program is now in the final development phase where a second laser module will be built and combined with the first module to generate 150 kW of power.
Following the final development phase, the plan is for the laser to be transported to White Sands Missile Range for ground testing against rockets, mortars, surface-to-air missiles and to conduct simulated air-to-ground offensive missions.
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DARPA plans to use the completed prototypes against targets at White Sands Missile Range in early 2013--this will include ground testing against rockets, mortars, and surface-to-air missiles.
Video of a Northrop Grumman Tactical High-Energy Laser laser
The Tactical High-Energy Laser, or THEL, is a laser developed for military use, also known as the Nautilus laser system. The mobile version is the Mobile Tactical High-Energy Laser, or MTHEL.
In 2010, the chief of Russia's Armed Forces General Staff said Russia is working on a military laser system.
In 2010, Indian scientists at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are designing new laser-based anti-missile systems called the Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs).
The Indian laser-based anti-ballistic missile systems have gone through standard testing procedures. An air defense dazzler, one of the weapons, can engage enemy helicopters at a 10 km range. The laser weapon will be set for induction in the next two years.
The scientist added that the DEW can generate 25 kW pulses, which can shoot down a missile within 7 km. Scientists are currently testing the Prithvi anti-ballistic missile system, which is scheduled for induction by 2013. The Prithvi can destroy ballistic missiles at a range of 80 km. The scientist informed that Indian scientists are developing the second-phase Prithvis, which is capable of destroying incoming ballistic missiles.
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