GA-ASI Awarded Contract for Hellads Weapon System Demonstrator


Jul 19, 2011

High-Power Laser Weapon Ultimately to be Incorporated into Tactical Aircraft

SAN DIEGO 19 July 2011 – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded the company a contract for development of the complete Demonstrator Laser Weapon System (DLWS) for the agency’s High Energy Liquid Laser Defense System (HELLADS) program. The contract award follows the successful development and test of the company’s HELLADS weapon class unit cell under a previous contract.

“In 2001, GA-ASI pioneered a new concept for electrically-pumped, high energy lasers, and under DARPA sponsorship this technology has developed into a promising new weapon class capable of being deployed on a wide variety of land, sea, and airborne tactical platforms,” said Dr. Michael Perry, vice president, Reconnaissance Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “Under this new contract, we will produce a 150-kilowatt HELLADS weapon system that will be demonstrated against a variety of military targets.”

The HELLADS laser concept employs an innovative new approach to electric lasers which combines the high storage density of solid-state with the efficient heat removal of flowing liquids. The HELLADS program seeks to demonstrate a 150-kilowatt laser weapon that weighs less than 2,000 pounds and could be mounted to military platforms as small as patrol ships, fighter and surveillance aircraft, armored combat vehicles, and perhaps even UAS. In addition to the laser itself, GA-ASI completed prototype power and heat removal systems last year, confirming that the supporting technologies are in place for a complete weapon system.

This latest contract award represents phase four of the HELLADS program. The DLWS will include a 150-kilowatt laser with integrated power and thermal management systems to provide a compact laser weapon system. Live fire exercises against a variety of targets are planned with the DLWS throughout 2013 at the White Sands Missile Range in south central New Mexico. Current U.S. military plans call for integration of the laser onto a B-1B aircraft following the completion of ground testing at White Sands.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing unmanned aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable unmanned aircraft systems, including

Predator® A, Predator B, Gray EagleTM, and the new Predator C Avenger®. It also manufactures a variety of solid-state digital Ground Control Stations (GCS), including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw® sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and unmanned aircraft. It also develops and integrates other sensor and communication equipment into manned and unmanned ISR aircraft and develops emerging technologies in solid-state lasers, electro-optic sensors, and ultra-wideband data links for government applications. For more information, please visit

Predator, Avenger, Lynx, and Claw are registered trademarks and Gray Eagle is a trademark of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

For more information contact:

Kimberly Kasitz

Public Relations Manager

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.


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