Boeing has demonstrated its Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) during a September 3 field test of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. According to a Boeing press release CLWS successfully defended a force protection convoy against unmanned aerial systems while mounted on a small Utility Task Vehicle.
CLWS was developed to provide cost-effective, precision air defence capabilities for warfighters against unmanned aircraft systems – is one of the latest examples of a new technology that the US Air Force sees as integral to the interconnected battlefield of the not-so-distant future.
“ABMS is the Air Force’s concept for joint all-domain operations – the future of integrated data sharing between all U.S. service branches across the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. Once implemented, the system will enable everything from autonomous systems and piloted aircraft to ground vehicles and troops to share information via a cloud-based network to detect and respond to threats faster and more efficiently,” said the company statement.
“In a future scenario, an integrated and networked direct energy capability – as demonstrated in this exercise by CLWS – would provide operators with vital information and a means to respond to threats at greater speeds,” said Ron Dauk, programme manager of Boeing’s Laser & Electro-Optical Systems.
According to the statement, throughout the exercise, CLWS transmitted live video and readings on the threats, as well as various elements of the convoy, to operators at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland – providing them with both real-time situational awareness and remote operating capabilities. During the scenario, CLWS received a target cue through the network and defeated a simulated unmanned aircraft vehicle. As part of its efforts to accelerate the integration of new technologies to implement ABMS, the Air Force awarded Boeing a development contract in June to compete for individual task orders through 2025.
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