Air Defense: Avenger Gets a Ray Gun


October 19, 2007: The U.S. has successfully tested an Avenger anti-aircraft system equipped with a one KW (kilowatt) laser (PHOTO). The U.S. Army developed the Avenger system, which is a hummer armed with Stinger surface-to-air missiles, a .50 caliber machinegun, radar and laser range finder. The hummer has a turret mounted on the back that contains two missile pods (each containing four Stinger anti-aircraft missiles). Under one pod there is an M3P .50 caliber machine gun. The weapons operator has use of a FLIR (night vision) and a laser range finder. The one KW laser was added to the turret, and was able to destroy two small UAVs (on the ground, later tests will try it against airborne UAVs). Most importantly, the laser was able to detonate IEDs and unexploded ordnance (shells and bombs).

The Avenger machine-gun can't be depressed sufficiently to fire at ground targets towards the front of the vehicle. The Stinger has a range of 4.5 kilometers. Effective range of the .50 caliber machine-gun is more like two kilometers. The "Laser Avenger" was developed in only eight months. No information was released on the effective range of the laser against IEDs, but it was sufficient to keep the crew out of harms way. The one kilowatt laser is more in demand as a standalone weapon, mounted on engineer vehicles (that hunt IEDs) or the lead vehicle in a convoy (so as to get IEDs out of the way quickly.) But the Avenger's manufacturer is also interested in boosting sales of the anti-aircraft system.




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