Raytheon's anti-drone laser system to be tested by U.S. Air Force

MCKINNEY, Texas. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems won a $13.1 million contract for the U.S. Air Force to purchase and test an additional high-energy laser weapon system (HELWS), adding a third to be deployed for testing, the Department of Defense announced.

The laser system uses a variant of Raytheon's Multi-Spectral Targeting System to detect and track drones before shooting them down. The system also has intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.

In October, Raytheon first installed the HELWS systems on an all-terrain vehicle to test its maneuverability during a year-long overseas deployment. The new deal is a modification to a $23.8 million contract to develop two prototype systems, bringing the total procurement for the program to $36.9 million.

The contract funds testing of the additional laser system at an overseas location to assess its reliability, maintainability, and supportability data, as well as system operation against real-world or simulated hostile scenarios.