The US Marine Corps has embarked on a new initiative to increase the lethality of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) fleet.
On Thursday, the service awarded a contract to American tech firm BlueHalo for a high-energy laser weapon compatible with its JLTVs.
According to the company, its solution would be the LOCUST laser weapon system to provide warfighters with advanced mobile air defense against drone threats.
The weapon will reportedly work alongside the US Marine Corps’ existing kinetic and electronic warfare systems for more effective ground-based air defense.
“With its superior target acquisition, track, and defeat capabilities and its broad adaptability across both fixed-site and mobile applications, the LOCUST laser system is the perfect solution for rapid integration into systems like the JLTV to address our customers’ most complex challenges,” BlueHalo official Trip Ferguson said.
The firm said it will work with the systems integration team at the Naval Surface Warfare Center to ensure compatibility and conduct live-fire tests.
‘Threat Protection on the Move’
BlueHalo’s LOCUST weapon leverages precision optical and laser hardware, as well as advanced software to enable an improved directed-energy kill chain.
It also boasts artificial intelligence to aid in identifying, tracking, and engaging a wide variety of targets with its “hard kill” high-energy laser.
According to company chief growth officer James Batt, the weapon has already been installed for fixed-site ground-based protection. But it has also been palletized to support mobile defenses.
Integrating it onto the JLTVs would reportedly provide the military with enhanced threat protection while on the move.
“LOCUST is a highly advanced, highly adaptable laser weapon solution. It is built upon a modular, open-systems architecture and is comprised of high technology readiness level, commercial off-the-shelf products and sensors,” BlueHalo stated on its website.