May 1, 2017
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Hard kill
US Army demonstrates integration of laser weapon on combat vehicle

The US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command team members are laser focused on the future of high energy lasers.

Members of the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Technical Center’s Air and Missile Defense Directorate participated in the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, or JIDO, UAS Hard-Kill Challenge at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

During the challenge, the Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser 2.0, or MEHEL 2.0, demonstrated its counter-unmanned aircraft system, or C-UAS, capability.

The purpose of the JIDO UAS Hard-Kill Challenge was to assess and look at technology to do a ‘hard-kill’ shoot down of Group 1 [unmanned aircraft systems] and inform decision-makers on the current state of technology and how it can deal with single and multiple targets.

MEHEL is a laser testbed on a Stryker-armored fighting vehicle chassis and serves as a platform for research and development. MEHEL 2.0 is an improved version of the original MEHEL with a laser upgraded from 2kW to 5kW and other added C-UAS capabilities.

During the JIDO challenge, MEHEL engaged small, fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles and quad copters in the first integration of an Army laser weapon onto a combat vehicle.

MEHEL 2.0 also has a number of US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center counter-unmanned aircraft system mobile integrated capability components to increase the robustness of its capabilities.

SMDC’s Tech Center is the Army’s high energy laser science and technology development lead. The Army recognizes that high energy lasers have the potential to be a low-cost, effective complement to kinetic energy to address rocket, artillery and mortar, or RAM, threats; unmanned aircraft systems and cruise missiles.