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Raytheon to Establish Laser Integration Center in Scotland

Our Bureau - : Jul 20, 2022 - : 8:05 am

Raytheon UK will establish a center for the testing, fielding, and maintenance of defensive high-energy laser weapon systems (HELWS).

The facility will open next year in Livingston, Scotland, and will become Raytheon’s European hub for HELWS as well as support UK Ministry of Defence aspirations in the growing sector. The company will conduct a six-month demonstration of a HELWS mounted on a British Army Wolfhound tactical support vehicle later this year.

The centre will support existing programs and it will be capable of scaling up as the quantity of fielded systems expands. The regional hub will also help to meet the accelerated delivery schedules customers are requesting and ensure that fielded systems can be quickly maintained and repaired.

“We’ve all seen that asymmetric threats like drones, rockets, artillery and mortars are a serious problem, and demand is spiking for cost-effective lasers to defeat them,” said Michael Hofle, senior director of High Energy Lasers at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business. “Standing up an advanced integration facility in the UK reflects the maturity of our technology and our commitment to deliver the HEL systems our customers need to defend the skies.”

Raytheon Technologies has licenses to export various configurations of its HEL technology in the UK, Europe, and around the world.

“With experts projecting that high-energy lasers could make up as much as 30% of an air defence’s infrastructure in the future, establishing a regional laser integration centre in the UK is an important step to deliver advanced defensive technology where it’s needed, while reducing overall costs of these systems,” said John Gallagher, managing director of weapons and sensors at Raytheon UK.

Last year, Raytheon UK was awarded a demonstrator contract to provide a high-energy laser weapon system to the UK Ministry of Defence, to be installed on the UK Wolfhound land vehicle.

Raytheon has already developed a 15-kW laser for use against Class 1 and 2 small UASs, fielded as part of the LSS Integrated Defense System (LIDS), while more powerful lasers remain in development for use in C-RAM applications and against UAVs up to Class 3. The company is on schedule to deliver four of its DE-MSHORAD directed-energy vehicle-mounted systems to the U.S. Army this fall, each armed with a 50-kW laser.

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