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More powerful direct-energy weapons

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World Naval Developments – March 2018

By Norman Friedman*

AT THE the end of February Lockheed-Martin received a contract for two linked shipboard laser systems: a high-energy laser intended to deal with unmanned aircraft and small boats, and a counter-unmanned aircraft dazzler linked to a long-range high-resolution camera. The system, to be delivered in 2020, is called HELIOS (High Energy Laser and Integrated Dazzler with Surveillance). The navy already operates a laser intended to deal with small boats (on board the base ship Ponce). The associated aiming/surveillance system has proven quite valuable in examining potential threats before engaging them. HELIOS is to be integrated with the Aegis system on board cruisers and destroyers; as such it is to be the first standardized U.S. Navy laser weapon.

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