Share This Post

International / Latest News / Technology

US Navy to develop three new ship-based laser weapons to counter new aerial threats

U.S. Navy USS Portland (LPD 27) conducts a Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) test in the Pacific, May 16, 2020. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy in recent years has leveraged both significant advancements in industrial SSLs and decades of research and development work on military lasers done by other parts of DOD to make substantial progress toward deploying high-energy SSLs on Navy surface ships.11 Navy surface ships would use high-energy SSLs initially for jamming or confusing (i.e., “dazzling”) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors, for countering small boats and UAVs, and potentially in the future for countering enemy missiles as well. High-energy SSLs on Navy ships would generally be short-range defensive weapons—they would generally counter targets at ranges of about one mile to perhaps eventually a few miles.

Between 2009 and 2012, the US. Navy successfully tested a prototype SSL called the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) against UAVs in a series of engagements that took place initially on land and subsequently on a Navy ship at sea. LaWS had a reported beam power of 30 kilowatts (kW).

The LaWs or AN/SEQ-3 Laser Weapon System is a laser weapon developed by the United States Navy. The weapon was installed on USS Ponce for field testing in 2014. In December 2014, the United States Navy reported that the LaWS system worked perfectly against low-end asymmetric threats and that the commander of Ponce is authorized to use the system as a defensive weapon. The exact level of power the LaWS will use is unknown but estimated between 15–50 kW for engaging small aircraft and high-speed boats.

In May 2020, The U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland successfully disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle on May 16 with a Solid-State Laser — Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD).

The U.S. Navy is currently developing SSLs with improved capability for countering surface craft and UAVs, and eventually a capability for countering ASCMs. Navy efforts to develop these more-capable lasers including the Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM), the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) Increment 1, also known as the high-energy laser with integrated optical dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS), and the High Energy Laser Counter-ASCM Program (HELCAP).

Story from

Share This Post

Lost Password