Zeus HMMWV Laser Ordnance Neutralization System (HLONS)
The Zeus HMMWV Laser Ordnance Neutralization System (HLONS) system, integrated onto a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), provided a capability to neutralize surface mines and unexploded ordnance from a safe standoff distance.
A Joint Service EOD effort starting in 1997 had focused on using a high power laser to cause burning or low order detonation of surface UXO from distances of 50 to 200 meters. The system was to be centered around a high powered laser diode program to enable the development of a HMMWV Laser Ordnance Neutralization System (HLONS). A 1000 watt Nd:YAG laser was used to cause low order reactions in surface munitions. As of 1997 a prototype system was planned to be constructed and tested in FY98. In FY99, the US military began development of the HMMWV-based laser ordnance neutralization system. This system was later integrated into the Army's Future Combat Systems program.
The HMMWV Laser Ordnance Neutralization System (HLONS), also known as Zeus, provided an example of enhanced technology transition in support of the GWOT based on FCS initiatives. By 2001 a prototype 500-watt laser had been tested. A program was underway at the same time to upgrade the system to 1 KW.
In 2003, the US Army deployed a Zeus HLONS system to Afghanistan, in and around Bagram air base, to neutralize unexploded ordnance (UXO). The carrier vehicle was based on a modified M1114 Up-Armored HMMWV. During the six-month deployment it neutralized 210 targets falling into 10 different types of ordnance.
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