Source: Ameya Paleja

The U.S. Army is on schedule to receive its 50kW-laser weapon-equipped Stryker combat vehicles, according to a Defense News report.

The Directed Energy Maneuver Short-range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) system that until now did not have a simpler name has been dubbed “Guardian,” Defense News reported after an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the head of the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), spoke at the event and estimated the induction of the weapon system would be in September.

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Last year, we had reported that the DE M SHORAD system was likely to be inducted in 2022 and the powerful laser would be powered by high capacity batteries that would be charged by the Stryker’s diesel engines. Defense News reported that delivery was still on track even though few tests were to be conducted this month and would continue into February as well.

Kord Technologies, a subsidiary of KBR, who was originally awarded the contract in 2019 had further subcontracted the building of the laser module to Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies, Defense News reported. The subcontract was to end in a Combat Standoff, and a winner would be given the contract. Since Northrop faced power and thermal management issues with its setup, only Raytheon could showcase its laser weapon in August last year.

Apart from the laser module, Raytheon is also developing the beam director assembly and radar acquisition system for the Guardian system, its website claims. We have covered how Raytheon also went further to develop a virtual environment for training U.S. Army cadets on the weapon system and the controls in the prototype combat vehicle weren’t anything they hadn’t seen during training.

Defense News reported that feedback from the use of the prototype was also taken on board and there are some design changes that the manufacturer is incorporating into the first set of four Stryker combat vehicles that will roll out later this year.