No longer science & technology projects, high-energy laser weapons are now operational

A 50 kilowatt-class laser mounted on a U.S. Army Stryker vehicle, shown during a live-fire exercise at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The combat-capable weapon system is on track for operational fielding in 2022. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

In this Q&A with Justin Martin, engineering director and chief engineer for high-energy laser weapon systems at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, we discuss: how the company has tackled the challenge of tactically packaging a high-energy laser (HEL) weapon; the latest news on the Army’s Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) program; and how HEL is becoming an