MATRIX Laser Successfully Downs Small UAVs


Boeing has recently announced successful, intercepts of multiple small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by high power mobile laser weapon system. The tests, conducted back in May 2009 demonstrated the ability of mobile laser weapon systems to locate, track and destroy small aerial targets in flight.

The test was sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and conducted at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., The Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), developed by Boeing under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, used a single, high-brightness laser beam to shoot down five UAVs at various ranges.

According to Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems’ Directed Energy Systems unit, the MATRIX demonstrated unprecedented, ultra-precise and lethal acquisition, in these tests, demonstrating pointing and tracking at long ranges using relatively low laser power.

Boeing Directed Energy Systems, based in Albuquerque, developed MATRIX, a mobile, trailer-mounted test bed that integrates with existing test-range radar. Directed Energy Systems and Boeing Combat Systems in St. Louis cooperatively developed Laser Avenger, which integrates a directed-energy weapon together with the existing kinetic weapons on the proven Avenger air defense system developed by Combat Systems.