The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of the fourth palletized high-energy laser ‘H4’ produced by Raytheon.
Last fall, the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and Raytheon tested the Air Force's first palletized high-energy laser weapon during four days of continuous live-fire exercises at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The new palletized laser weapon was the first 10-kilowatt laser built to U.S. military specifications in a stand-alone configuration that can be moved and mounted anywhere it's needed.
Known as "H4," it is the fourth operational laser weapon system that Raytheon has delivered to the Air Force and is the eighth total system the company has delivered to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The palletized laser weapon, aimed at protecting people and assets against short-range aerial threats, passed the Air Force's Test and Assessment plan. This included multiple days of live-fire exercises to acquire, target, track and destroy drone targets in short-range attack, swarm attack, and long-range threat scenarios.
Small enough to fit in the bed of a pickup truck, the laser weapon system comprises a high-energy laser weapon module, a long-range EO/IR sensor that also serves as the beam director, thermal control, internal electrical power, and targeting software—all packaged together for use in the toughest combat environments. It is operated with a laptop and a video game-style controller, and it can plug into a long list of existing air defense, and command and control systems to provide a needed layer of defense.
The palletized laser weapon system was built in the world's first laser weapon factory in McKinney, Texas, and delivered to the Life Cycle Management Center nine months after receipt of order.