The CILAS HELMA-P laser platform has been undergoing trials on board a French navy vessel. CILAS has been testing the laser system on target drones in France since 2020.
The HELMA-P system was designed from a joint relationship between CILAS and Ariane Group, whose development took place from 2017 to 2019. The system consists of a 2-axis turret with a set of optical sensors and the laser weapon itself which has a power of 2 Kilowatts. This turret is operated by a single operator through a man-machine interface. It has a capability to reach targets up to 1 kilometer away.
According to a YouTube video from France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and a Linkedin post from C-UAS expert Tiago M. Lança, the DGA has ordered a first operational prototype of the HELMA-P anti-drone laser weapon from CILAS, within the framework of the EUR 10 million L2AD contract [Laser for Combating Drones]. The reports say the HELMA-P prototype is expected to be deployed during the 2024 Olympic Games and will be available in two operational versions: on a battlefield platform and a naval vessel.
HELMA-P is being developed in parallel with the French Army’s other kinetic C-UAS programme, the ARLAD project [Adaptation Réactive de Lutte Anti-Drone] which aims to equip an armoured vehicle with a C-UAS radar and an “airbust” capability via a grenade launcher.