Raytheon Technologies has delivered the fourth combat-ready laser weapon system to the US Air Force, marking a milestone in developing and deploying high-energy laser technology for military applications.

Raytheon Technologies, a defence technology company, has announced the delivery of the palletized laser weapon known as “H4”. The laser weapon is a 10-kilowatt laser built to US military specifications in a stand-alone configuration, allowing it to be moved and mounted wherever needed.

The H4 laser system underwent rigorous testing during four days of continuous live-fire exercises at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The tests, conducted in collaboration with the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, demonstrated the weapon’s ability to acquire, target, track, and destroy drone targets in various attack scenarios, including short-range attacks, swarm attacks, and long-range threats.

According to Michael Hofle, senior director of High-Energy Lasers at Raytheon Technologies, deploying the H4 laser weapon system provides the Air Force with a reliable defence against asymmetrical threats posed by drones.

Hofle stated, “Anywhere the Air Force sees a threat from drones, they now have four proven laser weapons that can be deployed to stop asymmetrical threats. Whether it’s on a fixed location, a flatbed, or even a pickup, these laser weapons are compact, rugged, and ready to go.”

The versatility and mobility of the palletized laser weapon system make it an asset for protecting people and assets against short-range aerial threats. The system is small enough to fit in the bed of a pickup truck and comprises a high-energy laser weapon module, a long-range EO/IR sensor that also serves as the beam director, thermal control, internal electrical power, and targeting software.

It can be operated using a laptop and a video game-style controller and integrated with existing air defence and command and control systems to provide an additional layer of defence.

The palletized laser weapon system was built at Raytheon Technologies’ laser weapon factory in McKinney, Texas. The company delivered the system to the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center nine months after receiving the order.

The most recent development between Raytheon Technologies and the US Air Force was last month when Raytheon Technologies advanced the US Air Force Common Tactical Edge Network. The Common Tactical Edge Network enables tactical data to be shared across disparate networks to enable faster battlefield decision-making.