High-energy laser beam
A high-energy laser beam from General Atomics’ compact hemispherical beam director. Photo courtesy of the company

San Diego-based General Atomics and Boeing announced Tuesday they are collaborating on development of a high-energy laser weapon system for air and missile defense.

The companies said the “HEL” weapon system will produce 100 kilowatt beams that can be increased to 250 kilowatts for “combat-ready protection for the warfighter on an accelerated timeline.”

The weapon system will combine laser technology, battery systems and heat management developed by General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Systems Group with Boeing’s beam director and precision acquisition, tracking and pointing software.

“GA-EMS has made significant advancements in developing and demonstrating highly scalable laser technologies to facilitate high output power in smaller, lighter weight packages,” said Scott Forney, president of the division.

“We look forward to working with Boeing to deliver a laser weapon system with capabilities designed to meet current operational requirements, while providing the flexibility and adaptability to suit emerging platform requirements, supporting missions across a multi-domain battlespace,” he added.

The new weapon is designed to be used on mobile ground, sea and air platforms.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.