The goal of the HELLADS (High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System ) program is to develop a 150 kilowatt (kW) laser weapon system that is ten times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, enabling integration onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats. With a weight goal of less than five kilograms per kilowatt, and volume of three cubic meters for the laser system, HELLADS seeks to enable high-energy lasers to be integrated onto tactical aircraft, significantly increasing engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems.
A unit cell produces a 75 kW beam, and modules can be combined to create beams of 150-300 kW in power with no beam combining like low-power fiber lasers. General Atomics also plans to offer the Gen 3 to the U.S. Army for their High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL-MD) when its power levels increase to 120 kW in the early 2020s.
It has a weight goal of less than 5 kg/kW, approximately 750 kg, or 1650 lbs, an order of magnitude less than current laser weapon systems with similar power. This weight reduction enables tactical aircraft, such as fighters, bomber, tankers, and UAVs to carry the HELLADS. HELLADS will significantly increase engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems.