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Aero India 2023

Boeing completes FEL weapon system design for US Navy

An artistic conception of a naval ship using laser weapon system.

ALBUQUERQUE, USA (BNS): The preliminary design of the Free Electron Laser (FEL) weapon system, being developed for the US Navy by Boeing Company, has been completed and a prototype of the weapon system would be designed for sea tests.

The design of the FEL was presented before the US Government officials and National Laboratory representatives between March 9 and 11, Boeing said.

"The Free Electron Laser will use a ship's electrical power to create, in effect, unlimited ammunition and provide the ultra-precise, speed-of-light capability required to defend US naval forces against emerging threats, such as hyper-velocity cruise missiles," Gary Fitzmire, vice president and programme director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems, said.

"The successful completion of this preliminary design review is an important milestone in developing a weapon system that will transform naval warfare," he said.

Boeing is developing the FEL systems under a $163 million contract awarded by the US Navy in April, 2009.

The weapon system is being designed to empower naval ships with an ultra-precise, swift mechanism to defend themselves against challenging threats like hyper-velocity cruise missiles.

The electric laser will operate by passing a beam of high-energy electrons through a series of powerful magnetic fields, thereby generating an intense emission of laser light that can disable or destroy targets.

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