The goal of the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program is to develop a high-energy laser weapon system (150 kW) with an order of magnitude reduction in weight compared to existing laser systems.
With a weight goal of <5 kg/kW, HELLADS will enable High-Energy Lasers (HELs) to be integrated onto tactical aircraft and will significantly increase engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems.
The HELLADS program has completed the design and demonstration of a revolutionary subscale high-energy laser that supports the goal of a lightweight and compact high-energy laser weapon system. An objective unit cell laser module with integrated power and thermal management is being designed and fabricated and will demonstrate an output power of >34 kW. A test cell that represents one-half of the unit cell laser has been fabricated and used to characterize system losses and diode performance and reliability. The test cell is being expanded to a unit cell. Based on the results of the unit cell demonstration, additional laser modules will be fabricated to produce a 150 kW laser that will be demonstrated in a laboratory environment. The 150 kW laser then will be integrated with an existing beam control capability to produce a laser weapon system demonstrator. The capability to shoot down tactical targets such as surface-to-air missiles and rockets will be demonstrated.