October 2019 -- Leonardo DRS is preparing for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation for its quantum cascade laser, having reached the requisite high technology readiness level and demonstrated the system’s ability to protect helicopters from missile attacks, Eric Takeuchi, vice president of business development for DRS Daylight Solutions, said during the annual Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, DC.
“We’re ready for production for the army and the navy,” Takeuchi told Jane’s at the event on 16 October.
The system owes its lineage to data-storage technology used for compact discs that was then developed for other commercial applications and eventually ruggedised for military applications, including the protection of helicopters from heat-seeking-missile attack.
“It’s used as a dazzler, it confuses the seeker,” Takeuchi said, adding that the system offers technological advancements over those provided by existing systems.
“[With] some of [the] legacy lasers, you have multiple frequency conversion steps to get [the] right colour of light,” he said. “The V-22 uses laser technology that uses multiple frequency steps. It works. But it’s not as small, it’s not as lightweight [as the quantum cascade laser].”