The LADS demonstration used a proven, existing, off-the-shelf
solid-state laser, coupled with commercially available optics
technology. The goal of the demonstration was to rapidly prove
that lasers can yield military utility now by demonstrating
that such a system could protect warfighters against mortars.
Secondary goals of the demonstration were to offer a near-term
alternative to chemical lasers, which may create logistics challenges
for the warfighter, and to prove that existing optical and targeting
components can significantly lower total laser system costs
and speed their ultimate transition to the warfighter.
Solid-state laser technology makes LADS safe to the environment,
does away with the need for caustic chemicals and radically
reduces the life-cycle cost. LADS is highly mobile and has the
operational capability to simultaneously engage multiple targets
at tactically relevant ranges. The laser system is powered by
a commercially available generator or grid electricity and provides
an extremely inexpensive, almost infinite magazine for countering
mortar and rocket threats.
"Our solid-state LADS proves you don't have to wait another
three to five years for solid-state lasers to have military
utility on the battlefield. They are ready now, with no chemicals
required." Says Mike Booen, vice president of Advanced
Missile Defense and Directed Energy Weapons at Raytheon Missile
Systems in Tucson, Ariz.