AFRL SHiELD program demonstrates directed energy laser system

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) completed a major milestone under the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) Program, in which the surrogate laser weapon system successfully shot down multiple air launched missiles in flight.

During the series of tests at the High Energy Laser System Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, the Demonstrator Laser Weapon System (DLWS), acting as a ground-based test surrogate for the SHiELD system, was able to engage and shoot down several air launched missiles in flight.

The SHiELD program is developing a directed energy laser system on an aircraft pod that will serve to demonstrate self-defense of aircraft against surface-to-air (SAM) and air-to-air (AAM) missiles.The demonstration is an important step of the SHiELD system development, by validating laser effectiveness against the target missiles.

“The successful test is a big step ahead for directed energy systems and protection against adversarial threats,” says Maj. Gen. William Cooley, AFRL commander. “The ability to shoot down missiles with speed of light technology will enable air operation in denied environments. I am proud of the AFRL team advancing our Air Force’s directed energy capability.”