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US Stryker Vehicle Mounted With First Defensive Laser Zaps Drones On Demo

By Donna Bellevue , Mar 21, 2017 05:18 AM EDT
POCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 07: U.S. soldiers 2nd Infantry Division, Stryker Battalion Combat Team from Fort Lewis, Washington participate in Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise on March 7, 2011 in Pocheon, South Korea. The annual combined Field Training Exercise, part of Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2011, is conducted between the Republic of Korea and United States forces and is one of the largest annual military training exercises in the world. The annual training has in the past caused tensions with North Korea. (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The US Army demonstrated the combat capabilities using a Stryker armored vehicle mounted with a MEHEL (Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser) weapon that can zap drones during warfare from Feb. 27 to March 3. The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, or JIDO, displayed the Hard-Kill Challenge at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. It was the first defensive laser to be integrated with armored vehicles.

During the challenge, the MEHEL 2.0, was mounted on Stryker combat vehicles, which are eight-wheeled combat platforms used to boost battlefield mobility, survivability, and versatility. The demonstration was a way to display the laser's fighting prowess towards an unmanned aircraft system, or C-UAS. As seen in the video below, the laser effectively obliterated the flying drone, dropping it from the sky.

The first ever defensive laser mounted on the armored Stryker was an upgraded version of the original 2kW device. The newer variant is able to produce 5kW beams. Adam Aberle, a demonstration leader, explains that the JIDO UAS Hard-Kill Challenge aimed to assess and observe the laser technology, the Defense World reported.

The demo was a way to display the laser's capabilities to do a 'hard-kill' shoot down of unmanned aircraft systems. It was also designed to inform decision-makers on the current state of technology and how it can deal with single and multiple targets. Aberle praises the laser's successful performance in repelling UAV threats, the Space Daily reported.

The Stryker demo also discussed how the test revealed system limitations as a result of the MEHEL's upgrade from a 2kW to a 5kW capability. Aberle adds that the US military now understands the capabilities of the 5kW laser. The demo was able to verify and show that its possible to put a radar and a laser on a platform so it could self-cue to targets.

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