Army Chevy Colorado Infantry Squad Infantry Vehicle Gets Laser

In June 2020, the Army selected GM’s submission for the Squad infantry vehicle. Based largely on the commercially available Chevrolet Colorado truck, the ISV features 70% off-the-shelf components. Despite this, the ISV proves effective in Army evaluations, including being dropped from aircraft. Capable of carrying nine soldiers and their associated gear, the ISV gains another Army capability: a laser.

The Army Multi-Purpose High Energy Laser program aims to provide infantry brigade combat teams with anti-drone capabilities. Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood, director of the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies office, publicly announced approval for development of the AMP-HEL prototype. “We had this mission approved about a week ago and we have to deliver it in fiscal year 23,” he said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama on May 10. August 2022.

As technology improves, laser weapons are becoming more common in the military. USS Portland engages a surface practice target with a solid-state laser (US Marine Corps photo)

The AMP-HEL uses a 20kW laser capable of using Group 1 and Group 2 sized drones like the RQ-11 Raven and MQ-27 ScanEagle, respectively. However, Group 3 drones like the RQ-7 Shadow and enemy ammo exceed the capabilities of the AMP-HEL. “You don’t have enough time. The mortar shell hits you before you can kill it,” Lt. Gen. Thurgood noted. “You might have a few. But he is focused on the anti-UAS mission.

Army Chevy Colorado Infantry Squad Infantry Vehicle Gets Laser
The 82nd Airborne is the first unit to receive the ISV and associated upgrades such as the AMP-HEL (US Army)

In addition to the AMP-HEL, the Army is working on the Short Range Air Defense and Directed Energy Maneuver program. It aims to equip Stryker armored vehicles with 50kW lasers. More powerful and directed by a more sophisticated system, DE M-SHORAD is designed to engage up to Group 3 drones as well as rotary wing aircraft, rockets, artillery and mortars.

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