Lockheed Martin achieved the first light from the Directed Energy Interceptor for Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense System (DEIMOS). This verifies that the laser’s optical performance parameters align with the system design parameters. 

Lockheed Martin’s 50 kW-class DEIMOS is a ruggedized, tactical laser weapon system that can be paired with the Stryker combat vehicle to execute robust directed energy capability to the U.S. Army’s challenging maneuver-short range air defense (M-SHORAD) mission. 

“The 50 kW-class laser weapon system brings another critical piece to help ensure the U.S. Army has a layered air defense capability,” says Rick Cordara, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions. “DEIMOS has been tailored from our prior laser weapon successes to affordably meet the Army’s larger modernization strategy for air and missile defense and to improve mission success with 21st Century Security solutions.” 

The Importance 

Lockheed Martin’s DEIMOS first light demonstration is a major milestone to helping the Army perform its Directed Energy M-SHORAD mission. This is intended to deliver a maneuverable laser system that negates unmanned aerial systems, rotary-wing aircraft, rockets, artillery, and mortars. 

First light measures expected beam quality while also testing the end-to-end performance of Spectral Beam Combination (SBC) architecture. The key benefit is power can be scaled while retaining the beam quality of individual fiber lasers. 

Lockheed Martin demonstrated Layered Laser Defense (LLD) capability in 2022 by defeating two cruise missiles at tactically relevant ranges. LLD capability: 

  • Shares many common elements with the DEIMOS system architecture, such as allowing for a single operator to engage and destroy SHORAD targets
  • Can be seamlessly integrated into various platforms
  • Can fit on tactical platforms such as a Stryker vehicle because it was designed with constraints in terms of size, weight, and power (SWaP)

Next Steps 

Using the mindset of “build a little, test a little, learn a lot,” Lockheed Martin is expected to expand the DEIMOS test program in 2023. Field integration tests will follow in 2024. This approach is designed to reduce risk, enable soldier touchpoints and provide proof points of mission capabilities. 

The Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) leads the DE M-SHORAD prototyping effort. The program is expected to transition to the Program Executive Officer (PEO) Missiles & Space in 2024.  

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