The US Navy’s new laser weapon system (LaWS) will cost much less to build, install and fire than traditional multimillion-dollar missiles, which is critical in the face of looming Pentagon budget cuts.
"At less than a dollar per shot, there's no question about the value LaWS [Laser Weapon System] provides," Chief of naval research, Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder said. "With affordability a serious concern for our defense budgets, this will more effectively manage resources to ensure our Sailors and Marines are never in a fair fight."
LaWS is a cutting-edge weapon that brings significant new capabilities to America's Sailors and Marines and was for the first time successfully deployed and operated aboard a naval vessel in the Arabian Gulf, according to an official statement from the US Navy.
While laser weapons offer new levels of precision and speed for naval warfighters, they also bring increased safety for ships and crews, as lasers are not dependent on the traditional propellant and gunpowder-based ordnance found on ships. Lasers run on electricity and can be fired as long as there is power. They also cost less to build, install and fire than traditional kinetic weapons -- for example a multimillion-dollar missile.
During the tests, LaWS - a collaborative effort between ONR, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and industry partners -- hit targets mounted aboard a speeding oncoming small boat, shot a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) out of the sky, and destroyed other moving targets at sea.
The system is operated by a video-game like controller, and can address multiple threats using a range of escalating options, from non-lethal measures such as optical "dazzling" and disabling, to lethal destruction if necessary. It could prove to be a pivotal asset against what are termed "asymmetric threats," which include small attack boats and UAVs. Data regarding accuracy, lethality and other factors from the Ponce deployment will guide the development of weapons under ONR's Solid-State Laser-Technology Maturation program. Under this program, industry teams have been selected to develop cost-effective, combat-ready laser prototypes that could be installed on vessels such as guided-missile destroyers and the Littoral Combat Ship in the early 2020s. Researchers say the revolutionary technology breakthroughs demonstrated by LaWS will ultimately benefit not only U.S. Navy surface ships, but also airborne and ground-based weapon systems. "Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations," Klunder stated.
The NATO S&T board recently approved the stand-up of an SCI Task Group, SCI-264, to examine the tactical implications of the next-generation weapons based on High Energy Lasers (HEL) with a focus on issues associated with employment in the shared NATO battlespace. The kickoff meeting for SCI-264 was held on 5-7 November 2014 at the STO Collaboration Support Office facilities in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
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China has successfully tested a laser defense system capable of shooting down small scale drones within a two kilometer radius in five seconds after locating the target, Xinhua news agency reported Sunday. The drone defense system can destroy small-scale drones flying within an altitude of 500 meters and at speeds below 50 meters per second, the agency cited a statement published by the China Academy of Engineering Physics
The US Navy will outfit the USS Ponce, an amphibious vessel with a Laser Weapon System (LaWS) and will begin sea testing in the Persian Gulf later this year heralding an era of practical laser weapons which may ultimately replace short range cannons and missiles. After it completes testing it should be capable of shooting down drones or disabling small attack boats at an energy cost of just $1 per shot
Engineering Services Network(ESN) has won $13.5 million contract from the US Naval Surface Warfare Center for the Combat Systems Operational Sequencing System (CSOSS)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has submitted the Navy's 2015 shipbuilding plan, which covers fiscal years 2015 to 2044, to the Congress in July 2014, Congressional Budget Office said in a report. The Navy estimates that buying the new ships specified in the 2015 plan would cost $500 billion over 30 years, or an average of $16
Lockheed Martin announced today that it has won a $235 million US Navy contract to continue building MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) with options that, if exercised, would increase the value to $356 million. The VLS fires a wide range of missiles, primarily off of U
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