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Textron Defense Systems Awarded Funding for the DARPA HELLADS Program


Wilmington, MA .- Textron Defense Systems (TDS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced that it has signed an Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that will provide up to $21 million in government funding to design, fabricate and test a Unit Cell Module for a 150 kilowatt (kW) Laser Weapon System (LWS) and develop a critical design for the 150kW LWS.

Supporting TDS is Textron Systems’ Advanced Solutions Center, which has based its design upon its proprietary ThinZag(R) Ceramic solid-state laser technology and a preceding company-funded conceptual design. The LWS must meet DARPA’s aggressive weight, volume, beam quality, and runtime requirements for the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program.

“Our successes with prior phases of the HELLADS program have enabled our continued and enthusiastic involvement with this important DARPA project,” says Textron Systems’ Dr. John Boness, chief technical officer and vice president of Applied Technology. “To satisfy DARPA’s demanding HELLADS requirements for practical, compact, lightweight systems that can be used on military platforms, we first had to thoroughly understand the basic physics phenomenology governing the performance and scalability of high power solid-state laser systems. Understanding the physics allows our scientists and engineers to simplify the engineering and thus create innovative systems solutions to accelerate the deployment of practical Directed Energy Weapons to the warfighter.”

The Advanced Solutions Center has been a pioneer and technology leader in high power laser research and development for nearly a half-century. The work that began during the sixties, seventies and eighties, at the former Avco Everett Research Laboratory, focused on weapon-class gas laser development and demonstrated many well-known landmark laser devices. During the nineties and ongoing today, the Advanced Solutions Center continues to build on that heritage by focusing on the development of breakthrough solid-state laser concepts to provide the warfighter with compact, affordable and rugged Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) systems capable of withstanding the most severe operational and environmental battlefield conditions. DARPA’s most recent funding recognizes the company’s continued success and leadership in developing High Energy Lasers for military applications.


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