High-Power Microwave weapon/High Energy Laser Weapons System (HELWS)
Type of C-UAS
Directed energy

Demonstrated in 2013. Raytheon is one of several defence contractors chosen by the Office of Naval Research to develop a high-powered laser weapon capable of hitting fast-moving targets at a distance under the Ground Based Air Defense Directed Energy On the Move programme.

In August 2019 Raytheon was awarded a USD23,817,657 contract for two prototype High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS). This award provides for outside continental U.S. (OCONUS) field assessment for purposes of experimentation including, but is not limited to, 12 months of in-field operation by Air Force personnel against unmanned aerial systems threats. Work will be performed OCONUS and is expected to be completed by Nov. 1, 2020.

In late 2021 the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected Raytheon UK to supply a demonstrator contract to provide a HELWS. Raytheon UK will deliver the MOD’s high-energy laser demonstrator to show the application of directed energy weapons technology to help protect the UK armed forces from UAVs.


An industry team led by Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, and Kord, a wholly owned subsidiary of KBR, completed a US Army operational assessment at White Sands Missile Range to defeat multiple 60mm mortar rounds using a 50kW-class high energy laser integrated on a Stryker combat vehicle in May 2022. Multiple tests were conducted to simulate real-world scenarios.

The directed energy weapon system is part of the US Army’s Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense, or DE M-SHORAD. It is designed to acquire, track, target and defeat multiple mortars, says a Raytheon press release. The joint industry team, which includes Rocky Research for power and thermal management, General Dynamics Land Systems for the Stryker platform, and Applied Technology Associates for additional sensors, is preparing to deliver four DE M-SHORAD units to Army Brigade Combat Teams in 2022.

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