Written by Vasiliki Charitaki
American security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin Corporation provided the United States Naval Forces with an innovative High Energy Laser, which includes Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance, cue the name HELIOS. The company was appointed the system in 2018, with the system being a novelty since it will be the first ever laser weapon system accommodated into existing warships whilst it entails tactical warfighting competence aiming for an advanced defence and security architecture (Saballa, 2022). In the same context, due to its deep magazine, low-cost per kill, instant delivery, and precisive response, the system works as a shield for the fleet (Lockheed Martin Delivers Integrated Multi-Mission Laser Weapon System To The Navy, 2022).
Lockheed and Martin’s Vice president underlined that the system can «enhance the overall combat system effectiveness of the ship to deter future threats and provide additional protection for sailors”, whilst Lockheed executives added that the new laser weaponry system would eventually become part of the Aegis weapon system, thus making its existence irreplaceable and not just an independent system (Katz, 2022). The Aegis System constitutes a leading surface combat system utilised by the U.S Naval forces and whose technological compartments allow to defend against any surface threat successfully.
Furthermore, at the beginning of the year HELIOS was intended to be installed on the Preble warship, which is the first U.S ship to receive the system and which will test the laser in 2023 (Katz, 2022).
Lastly, we should draw attention to the fact that such high-tech laser systems offer several benefits for defence and security. More precisely, such weaponry relies on electricity, unlike some systems based on missile batteries. As a result, they do not require supply chains which can significantly increase the ability to deal with threats without logistical hindrances which limit combat power. Furthermore, these systems are a relatively inexpensive means to deal with low-cost threats. Another benefit is that they can significantly lessen workforce costs because fewer personnel will be needed to control them in comparison to other weaponry (Gunzinger, 2022).
Gunzinger, C. M. (2022, March 2). Winning 21st century wars requires directed-energy capabilities. Retrieved from www.defensenews.com: https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2022/03/02/winning-21st-century-wars-requires-directed-energy-capabilities/
Katz, J. (2022, August 18). Lockheed delivers high-energy laser four years in the making to US Navy. Retrieved from www.breakingdefense.com: https://breakingdefense.com/2022/08/lockheed-delivers-high-energy-laser-four-years-in-the-making-to-us-navy/
Lockheed Martin Delivers Integrated Multi-Mission Laser Weapon System To The Navy. (2022, August 18). Retrieved from www.lockheedmartin.com: https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2022-08-18-Lockheed-Martin-Delivers-Integrated-Multi-Mission-Laser-Weapon-System-to-the-Navy
Saballa, J. (2022, August 22). Lockheed Martin Delivers Tactical HELIOS Laser Weapon to US Navy. Retrieved from www.thedefensepost.com: https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/08/22/lockheed-helios-laser-navy/