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HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
A Dynetics and Lockheed Martin team have beaten out Raytheon in a head-to-head competition to build a 100-kilowatt laser weapon for the U.S. Army. A $130 million contract has been written to build the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Commandís High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) laser system.
The HEL TVD program is a science and technology demonstration program that will work toward incorporating a laser into the Armyís Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 that aims to defend against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as cruise missiles and drones.
Laser weapons for platforms like IFPC Inc. 2 are being hotly pursued because regular interceptors quickly run out and are expensive. A laser weapon will have a much larger number of shots depending on power availability and would be far less expensive to fire at a threat than a missile.
(Via Defense News)
The first use of the idea of a weaponized beam of light energy is probably the heat ray from H.G. Wells' 1898 classic War of the Worlds:
(From 1906 version of War of the Worlds)
...Slowly a humped shape rose out of the pit, and the ghost of a beam of light seemed to flicker out from it.
Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men. It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them and flashed into white flame. It was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire.
Then, by the light of their own destruction, I saw them staggering and falling, and their supporters turning to run.
I stood staring, not as yet realising that this was death leaping from man to man in that little distant crowd. All I felt was that it was something very strange. An almost noiseless and blinding flash of light, and a man fell headlong and lay still; and as the unseen shaft of heat passed over them, pine trees burst into fire, and every dry furze bush became with one dull thud a mass of flames.
Although this isn't really a science-fictional reference, I'm compelled to add that I saw this idea clearly visualized in 1964, in Mystery of the Lizard Men, an episode of Jonny Quest.
(From Mystery of the Lizard Men, 1964)
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