US Army’s Yaw on MEHEL, Future of Battlefield High-Energy Lasers

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Richard Yaw, PhD, the director of air and missile defense and the chief of the high-energy laser division at the US Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., discusses the Mobile Experimental High-Energy Laser, the future of battlefield directed-energy weapons, capabilities, and more with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor. The MEHEL program originally fitted a 2 kilowatt laser, radar, targeting as well as power and cooling systems on a standard Infantry Fighting Variant of the service’s Stryker wheeled combat vehicle. The power of the laser has been upgraded twice, first to 5 kilowatts and then to its current confirmation of 10 kilowatts. At the same time, the vehicle is being used to help Army leaders develop new tactics to take maximum advantage of future operational laser weapon systems for air  defense applications spanning from downing unmanned air systems to more demanding missions like countering artillery, rockets, mortars and other threats.

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