This year, the U.S. Navy will field the first acquisition program to deploy the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, or HELIOS, a laser weapon system with high-energy fiber lasers for permanent fielding by the U.S. Department of Defense.

This will be the only deployed laser system integrated into an operational Flight IIA DDG. This follows the Lockheed Martin and U.S. Navy’s recent demonstration of full laser power in excess of the 60 kW requirement.

“The scalable laser design architecture spectrally combines multiple kilowatt fiber lasers to attain high beam quality at various power levels. Lockheed Martin completed the Critical Design Review and Navy Factory Qualification Test milestones in 2020, demonstrating the value of system engineering rigor and proven Aegis system integration and test processes on the way to delivering operationally effective and suitable laser weapon system that meets the Navy’s mission requirements.”

Dr. Rob Afzal, Senior Fellow, Laser Sensors and Systems at Lockheed Martin said:

“Our fiber lasers operate with an efficiency that generates less heat and exists in a smaller package allowing easier incorporation into various defense platforms. Our ALADIN laser has operated in the field for two years with no need for realignment, proving both the lethality and the reliability of our solutions.”

“Our adversaries are rapidly developing sophisticated weapons and the threats to the U.S. Navy’s fleet are getting more challenging,” said Hamid Salim, vice president, Advanced Product Solutions at Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems.

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Before the Star Wars laser death ray discussion starts here is the US Congress report figures on Laser weapons

A 60-100Kw laser is capable of Countering small and slow low flying UAVs, EO guided missiles , enemy ISR systems, and swarm boats out to about 1- 2 kms in range.

It is not going to be capable of doing hypersonics, cruise missiles , aircraft or much else.


We discussed this a while back. Yet…..
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Last edited 2 days ago by DaveyB

No, but once you have the principle and a power source it is just normal engineering development to miniaturise and improve the offering. Its 100kW today, in 10 years its 500kW and that will be a different game.


It’s not that straight forward. The laws of Physics are the limiting factor Fibre optic and slab lasers have a power ceiling of around 500kw, possibly a mega max. If you want big time multi Mega and Giga watt lasers you are into the realms of free electron lasers that needs an LPD sized vessel to mount it. As I have said before the Navies of the world have issues recruiting basic techs and engineers. They would really struggle to find particle physists to manage the particle accelerator needed on a free electron laser. Even with big lasers the range… Read more »


Anyone know what the cost of these systems is relative to other legacy solutions? If they are only targeting ribs and uavs would a phalanx or boffers offer better value for money?

Tim Uk

But there is zero time to target once acquired. So the range issue vs a missile defense system is mute to a large extent.


Let me start by saying I am in no way underestimating the barriers in developing a truly useful weapon/defence and certainly not claiming that you are wrong in what you say I don’t have the expertise to do so. However I have heard similar claims over the years in many and various technologies that have subsequently and often reasonably quickly come to be solved. A few years back I read a very convincing argument about the total impracticality of the Hyperloop concept which certainly seemed come to rock solid conclusions that it would though it could work that in so… Read more »


OK, in Gunbuster’s defence. A laser will always suffer issues with atmospherics. This is due to the very small nano-metric wavelength of the laser, being attenuated by airborne molecules such as water, CO2, NO etc. Therefore on a clear sunny day in the Gulf or on the test range in Arizona, a laser will have no major issues. Now put it in the North Sea where it’s blowing a gale and you can’t see more than 10ft due to the rain. The laser’s effective range will have dropped significantly. You can get round this problem to a degree, by using… Read more »


Davy Fully agree with all of that. On the Pro side, A Ram/ESSM missile cost around 1.5 mil a shot so massive cost saving through using lasers which means more money to other projects over the longer term. A laser has a deep/infinite magazine unlike Phalanx and no through life cost for ammunition use. Collateral damage is reduced if say a civvy pleasure craft is in the firing line because a suicide boat is maneuvering around it to use as a shield. Cost maybe 15-20mil a system SSL fibre lasers dont collimate beams into phase . They use the number… Read more »


Yep, totally agree. You can diffuse the effectiveness of a beam through obscurants, like smoke etc. But it will also depends on the type of obscurant, range to target and the lasers power. If its powerful enough a portion will get through. Though how much that is effective is the million dollar question. You can’t argue with lead, or in this case tungsten sabot rounds from a 20mm Phallanx. I know a lot of people are deriding it as having a short effective range and being obsolete. But as the last resort, I defy anything that can survive flying through… Read more »


It would be nice to see longer more detailed articles. Something more like Navy Lookout (previously Save the Royal Navy)


Fair enough, I wasn’t aware 🙂


For those who want a good technical read i suggest you look at the US CONGRESS report on Lasers and Rail guns. It cuts through the manufacturers hype and puts it in a reaslistic perspective.

A lot of the previous reports detail range predictions and target destruction ability. basically its going to be slow low UAVs and small swarm boats for many years yet.

As i said Physics is a bitch!


as is typing on a small mobile phone….why will CAPS not work!


A point of clarification. This is not an official report of the US Congress but a product of the Library of Congress which provides, through the Congressional Research Service, staff analyses of various issues to Congressional Committees and members. That’s not to endorse or reject of any of its opinions but these reports are just that, opinions of Library of Congress analysts who may or may not have an expertise in the matters they are analyzing, and have no official Congressional authority.