Helicopter tests laser weapon in southern New Mexico

Photo Courtesy of Raytheon

White Sands Missile Range, NM (KRQE) – An Apache AH-64 attack helicopter flying over White Sands Missile Range recently became the first rotorcraft to fire an integrated laser weapon at a target.

Laser weapons have been fired previously from airplanes, ground vehicles and ships, but this was the first firing of a laser weapon by a rotorcraft at a target.

Raytheon, the U-S Army and the U-S Special Operations Command conducted the tests to evaluate the effects of dusty rotor downwash and helicopter vibration on the laser’s operation.

Raytheon says a stationary target was identified by the system and hit by the laser about a mile away from the laser gunship.

In a news release, Raytheon said the “fully integrated laser system successfully shot a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds, proving the feasibility of laser attack from Apache.”