• A military scientist operates a laser in a test environment. Credit: USAF via Wikimedia Commons
    A military scientist operates a laser in a test environment. Credit: USAF via Wikimedia Commons
  • L3 Micreo at MilCIS 2017. Credit: ADM Patrick Durrant
    L3 Micreo at MilCIS 2017. Credit: ADM Patrick Durrant
  • The modular link – size, weight and power is also enhanced thanks to the negated need for separate receivers, down converters or digitisers, and the reduction of cabling. Credit: Garry Schlatter
    The modular link – size, weight and power is also enhanced thanks to the negated need for separate receivers, down converters or digitisers, and the reduction of cabling. Credit: Garry Schlatter
  • (L-R) L3 Micreo BDM Mark Pezaro, Andrew Wallace MP, L3's Greg Roberts and L3 Micreo GM Sarah Earey at the opening of the new facility. Credit: ADM David Jones
    (L-R) L3 Micreo BDM Mark Pezaro, Andrew Wallace MP, L3's Greg Roberts and L3 Micreo GM Sarah Earey at the opening of the new facility. Credit: ADM David Jones
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L3 Micreo has been received funding from the Commonwealth’s Next Generation Technologies Fund to research a scalable High-Energy Laser Array (HELA), a new innovation put forward by the company as part of the Fund’s Counter Improvised Threats Grand Challenge.

The proposal was one of 13 winning proposals that will be developed over the next four years into a single prototype threat detection and defeat system led by Defence.

L3 Micreo GM Sarah Earey said it is an innovative proposal for a complex problem.

“The funding provides us the opportunity to develop next-generation capabilities to address the ever-growing incidence of improvised threats to Defence personnel and the public.”

The HELA technology that will result from funding L3 Micreo’s research is one of very few technologies capable of permanently neutralising an improvised threat at standoff distances. As a highly versatile system, it will be effective not only against IEDs, but also against manned and unmanned platforms, going beyond the capabilities of existing counter-IED jamming technology.

The duration of the research project is approximately a year and a half and it will focus on the design and demonstration of a concept system with a view to progressing the design to high-technology readiness levels.

Ashley Robinson, L3 Micreo’s chief technology officer, said there has been a lot of research into the effectiveness of high-energy lasers, which generate a single, coherent, high-energy beam fed into a large beam expander and steered to hit the target to permanently neutralise improvised threats.

“But we’re going beyond that, to research and develop technology using arrays of lower-powered lasers.”

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