High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility

HELSTF HOME PAGE: http://helstf-www.wsmr.army.mil/

The High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF) is the ideal choice to host exploration of future laser technologies. Appointed the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command's (SMDC) "Directed Energy Center for Test and Evaluation," HELSTF boasts a unique infrastructure with extensive capabilities for ground-based directed energy testing and evaluation. Located on White Sands Missile Range, in southern New Mexico, HELSTF has access to 3,200 square miles of controlled land and 7,000 square miles of controlled air space in which to conduct live fire, lethality, and vulnerability testing, as well as laser/material interactions.

As defense systems have emerged employing expanded high-energy laser technologies, the need for a test facility equipped to accommodate an array of test scenarios arose. HELSTF has met that need by transforming an already proven test site with an experienced test team into a facility poised for the 21st Century. As a result, HELSTF is able to support a wide variety of laser developmental and operational tests for not only combat and materiel developers, but also for industry and academia.


HELSTF is located within the boundaries of White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, approximately 60 miles north of El Paso, Texas, 25 miles west of Alamogordo, New Mexico, and 35 miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico, on US Highway 70.

For additional information, please  e-mail, visit White Sands Missile Range, or mail to:

Deputy Commander, US Army Space and Missile Defense Command
HELSTF Directorate, SMDC-AC-H
White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002-5148

Mid-InfraRed Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL):

The United States' most powerful DF laser (megawatt class). Operational since 1983 at HELSTF, it provides a great national asset for directed energy testing.

Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL):

The world's first laser weapon system developed for deployment. Testing began in 1999.

Low Power Chemical Laser (LPCL):

A small HF/DF laser with a peak power of DF 20W single line, 100W multi-line can be used economically for a variety of projects.

Laser Demonstration Device (LDD):

A HF/DF laser with a peak power of 10 kW is beneficial as an economical and effective test article for lower end tests.

Pulsed Laser Vulnerability Test System (PLVTS):

A resident test facility since 1991, it is used for the evaluation of vulnerabilities of various equipment and materials to pulsed lasers.


Solid State Heat Capacity Laser (SSHCL):

The Solid State Laser Program is geared to develop and integrate a diode-pumped laser device. This device will be capable of "Protecting the Force" for Army Vision 2010 against threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles, rockets, artillery, and mortars.


  • SAVE Krypton Ion (Kr+) Laser
  • Coherent Infinity Nd: YAG Laser
  • Quantel ND: YAG Lasers (2)
Update Location
July 02, 2009
HELSTF Site Overview
+32 38' 2.18", -106 19' 51.91"
HELSTF Site Overview
HELSTF Main Laser Turret
HELSTF Power Plant
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