Raytheon has been awarded a $11 million contract to develop a vehicle-mounted laser weapon.

The US defence contractor was tasked by the Office of Naval Research to design a device capable of defeating low-flying threats.

The company will use planar waveguide (PWG) technology to create a small (approximately 12in) weapon with a minimum output power of 25kW, which is enough power to engage small aircraft.

"Raytheon is paving the way for fielded directed energy weapon systems in the very near future with the demonstration of a Marine Humvee-based, high-energy laser," said Bill Hart, vice-president of Raytheon Space Systems.