The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office is asking industry to submit white papers for a counter-small unmanned aerial system high-energy laser system, according to a notice posted today.
The Feb. 10 notice, which was added onto a 2018 broad agency announcement, notes the service is looking to integrate a government-owned HEL subsystem with a power and thermal subsystem and sensor package to demonstrate increased lethality in negating sUAS.
The notice mentions the Defense Department's C-sUAS strategy, saying DOD must protect its personnel, facilities, and assets in an environment in which technology trends are dramatically transforming legitimate applications of sUAS, while simultaneously making them increasingly capable weapons.
Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, the official in charge of the Army-led Joint C-sUAS Office, told reporters Feb. 2 some high-energy lasers have been proved successful in the contingency environment and are integrated and deployed now, but "it's a matter of scaling it up to the ultimate scale that we want to."
The notice states follow-on production activities are anticipated to be in support of PEO Missile and Space's C-UAS efforts.
"The HEL C-sUAS system will be demonstrated in a relevant environment and must show increased magazine depth while reducing operational costs, risk of interfering with untargeted systems, and risk of collateral damage when compared to other C-sUAS Block 0 systems," according to the notice.
The C-sUAS HEL system should have a modular open system and interface with the Army's Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control system, as stated in the DOD C-sUAS strategy; possess the capability to defend fixed and semi-fixed sites; detect and characterize Class 1 and 2 UAS threats at standoff ranges; and reach a Technology Readiness Level 7 and Manufacturing Readiness Level 5 when demonstrated as a prototype at the end of this effort, according to the notice.
The notice mentions following a successful prototype project and subject to the availability of funds, the service anticipates awarding an Other Transaction Authority agreement or a Federal Acquisition Regular-based contract.
White papers are due Feb. 24.