Boeing Laser Avenger Shoots Down Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Tests – Press Release
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Boeing Laser Avenger Shoots Down Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Tests
Jan. 26, 2009 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully
demonstrated that a laser system mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle
can shoot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) like those that
increasingly threaten U.S. troops deployed in war zones.
During tests last month at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Laser
Avenger achieved its principal test objectives by using its advanced
targeting system to acquire and track three small UAVs flying against a
complex background of mountains and desert. The laser system also shot
down one of the UAVs from an operationally relevant range. These tests
mark the first time a combat vehicle has used a laser to shoot down a
Representatives of the U.S. Army’s Cruise Missile Defense Systems
project office observed the tests.
“Small UAVs armed with explosives or equipped with surveillance sensors
are a growing threat on the battlefield,” said Gary Fitzmire, vice
president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems. “Laser
Avenger, unlike a conventional weapon, can fire its laser beam without
creating missile exhaust or gun flashes that would reveal its position.
As a result, Laser Avenger can neutralize these UAV threats while
keeping our troops safe.”
The tests follow a 2007 demonstration in which an earlier version of
Laser Avenger neutralized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and
unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the ground.
“We doubled the laser power; added sophisticated acquisition, tracking
and pointing capability; and simplified and ruggedized the design,” said
Lee Gutheinz, Boeing program director for High-Energy
Laser/Electro-Optical Systems. “Boeing developed and integrated these
upgrades in less than a year, underscoring our ability to rapidly
respond to warfighters’ needs.”
Laser Avenger integrates a directed energy weapon together with the
kinetic weapons on the proven Avenger air defense system developed by
Boeing Combat Systems in Huntsville, Ala. It is a Boeing-funded
initiative to demonstrate that directed energy weapons are maturing and
are relevant to today’s battlefield.
Boeing leads the way in developing laser systems for a variety of U.S.
Air Force and Army warfighter applications. These systems include the
Airborne Laser, the Advanced Tactical Laser, the High Energy Laser
Technology Demonstrator and the Tactical Relay Mirror System.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
is one of the world’s largest space and defense
businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer
solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of
military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense
Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.