A team of Lockheed Martin and Dynetics engineers just won a $130 million contract to provide a 100-kilowatt laser weapon for the U.S. Army.
The High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator — evocatively abbreviated HEL TVD — laser system is slated to be tested at a missile range in New Mexico in 2022, Defense News reports.
“High energy laser weapons have been a system that the United States has wanted to add into their defense portfolio since the invention of the laser,” said senior VP of contracts at Dynetics Ronnie Chronister in a press release.
The system was designed to defend against missiles, rockets and artillery, according to Defense News. It could also prove useful against military drones and other unmanned aircraft.
The news comes after luxury automaker Rolls-Royce unveiled a new hybrid power source intended to continuously power 100-kilowatt laser weapons earlier this week. According to today’s statement, Rolls-Royce will provide the power source and thermal management system for the HEL TVD.
The plan is to mount the laser system onto “medium-sized tactical vehicle platform” — a mid-sized military truck. The team is finalizing designs before building the first test vehicle.
The U.S. Army is developing laser systems in a number of different areas. Last month, for instance, Futurism reported on plans to equip tanks and drones with laser weapons meant to disable targets.