The U.S. Army has successfully hit unmanned targets via a powerful new laser weapons system, which for the first time was mounted on an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter.
This was “the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds,” according to a Raytheon press release.
The test was recently conducted by elite weapons defense contractor Raytheon alongside the U.S. Army Apache Program Management Office and the U.S. Special Operations Command at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concepts and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, said the goal is to bring this advanced technology to the battlefield as soon as possible.
“Our goal is to pull the future forward,” Morrish said. “This data collection shows we’re on the right track. By combining combat-proven sensors, like the MTS, with multiple laser technologies, we can bring this capability to the battlefield sooner rather than later.”
“In this test, Raytheon coupled a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System [MTS], an advanced electro-optical infrared sensor, with a laser. The MTS provided targeting information, situational awareness and beam control,” the press release read.
Laser systems have been used on Apache helicopters since the 1980s, when the aircraft first entered service.