U.S. to Arm Destroyers with Laser Defense System
(Source: Forecast International; issued May 29, 2019)
ARLINGTON, Va. --- The U.S. Navy plans to use lasers to defend its warships from missile threats. Now, the USS Preble, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, could receive the HELIOS (High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance) laser defense system as early as 2021.

The HELIOS may replace the existing RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) close-in air defense system. The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract to design and deliver a laser defense system.

Lockheed Martin is expected to deliver the system sometime in 2020.

The HELIOS will defend surface warships from various threats including small boats, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), and missiles.

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US Laser Weapons Plan Triggers Arms Race Concerns
(Source: Global Times; issued May 30, 2019)
The US plan to equip its warships with high-energy laser weapons in 2021 is a typical tactic to seek military technological dominance by using China's reasonable military development as an excuse, and the unilateral actions of the US will likely trigger an arms race, Chinese military analysts said on Wednesday.

The US destroyer Preble will be the first to be equipped with the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler With Surveillance system, or HELIOS, in 2021, US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on Monday.

HELIOS will function as a faster close-in weapon that uses light beams to "defend against Chinese or Russian cruise missiles," the report said, claiming that China's in-development drone swarm is also a target of the laser.

This is the latest version of the "China threat theory" which the US uses to justify its pursuit of military technological dominance, analysts said.

It is normal and reasonable for China to steadily develop its military capability consistent with its economic development. But the US is again using the "China threat theory" as a scaremongering tactic to gain more funding for new weapons, Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Compared with the aggressive military build-up of the US, China's military capability building is mainly defense-oriented. But to balance US moves of seeking dominance, China will be forced to respond and strengthen its defense capability, analysts said.

Based in Pearl Harbor, the Preble is a US Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, which sailed through the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea multiple times in May amid the ongoing trade war between China and the US, Reuters reported.

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