Boeing’s compact lasers shine at counter-drone competition

Dual Compact Laser Weapon Systems showcase versatility, effectiveness at Canadian defence and security event.

June 26, 2024 in Defense

Boeing’s Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) supported a range of counter-uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) test exercises at the 2024 Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Counter UAS Sandbox in Suffield, Alberta.

As part of mock operational scenarios staged from May 27-31, Boeing successfully operated two CLWS units — one in a fixed containerized configuration and one integrated with a military-grade Polaris RZR — side by side to cooperatively detect and defeat both single targets and multiple targets simultaneously, including high-performance first-person view (FPV) drones, stationary mortars and a swarm of five UAS.

units with a radar system

Boeing configured the units with a radar system to detect targets before automatically “handing over” control to the compact lasers to identify, track, engage and defeat them — demonstrating the full counter-UAS kill chain at distances ranging from 200 meters to 2.5 kilometers.

“This was a great opportunity for us to roll up our sleeves alongside Canadian defence and security organizations to show what CLWS could do reliably over several days, as well as the benefit of multiple lower-power, lower-cost systems engaging the same target at the same time,” said Kurt Sorenson, CLWS program manager. “CLWS is a combat-proven, multi-mission solution with an open systems architecture that’s capable of meeting Canada’s integrated command and control requirements.”


The biannual Counter UAS Sandbox, organized by Canada’s Department of National Defence’s IDEaS program in coordination with the Canadian Armed Forces, brought together advanced solutions from across industry to detect and defeat small UAS. A “Sandbox” is an opportunity for innovators to demonstrate and test solutions and receive feedback from the Canadian defence and security community while informing them about the state of the possible.

compact lasers shine at counter drone competition

Types of operational scenarios simulated at the event included forward operating base defense, mobile force and dismounted personnel protection, and urban and naval operations.

Boeing’s CLWS — recently returned from a multi-year overseas deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps — has defeated more than 400 drones in dozens of demonstrations, scenarios and environments in the hands of military operators with as little as one hour of training.

compact lasers shine at counter drone competition

About IDEaS

IDEaS is a defence innovation program which invests in research and technology aimed at meeting the demands of the current and future complex global defence and security environment. Since launching in April 2018, IDEaS has been working with Canadian innovators to develop the science and technology landscape, and is helping turn innovative thinking into tangible solutions for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as Canadians. Visit the IDEaS website to get updates on the latest challenges issued by the program.

All photos courtesy of Steve Berry, Department of National Defence.