The USS Portland has deactivated a flying drone with a “solid-state laser” in the Pacific.
Videos showed how the 150-kilowatt-class laser weapon system demonstrator (LWSD) developed by Northrup Grumman destroyed the drone.
“With this new enhanced feature, we are redefining naval warfare for the Navy,” said a Navy official in a press release.
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A US Navy ship shot down a flying drone with a “solid-state laser” in the Pacific, the service office said on Friday.
The USS Portland (LPD-27), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, last week deployed its Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) against an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during a demonstration of a first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) ) a high-energy solid-state laser, the Navy said.
“Conducting advanced tests at sea against UAVs and small vehicles gives us valuable information about the capabilities of the solid-state laser weapon system demonstrator against potential threats,” said U.S. Navy Captain Karrey Sanders, the ship’s commanding officer, in a press release.
“The solid-state laser weapon system demonstrator is a unique capability that Portland can test and operate for the navy, while also paving the way for future weapon systems,” added Sanders. “With this new advanced feature, we’re redefining naval warfare for the Navy.”
According to the Navy, the weapon system is being developed due to “an increasing number of threats”, which include UAVs, small armed boats, and enemy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The Navy has used other laser weapon systems on its ships, including the 30-kilowatt laser weapon system (LaWS) on board the USS Ponce.
The Navy hopes that laser cannons can protect the fleet from drones and even long-range missiles used by rivals such as China that can outperform a US carrier strike group’s jets and missiles. China’s land-based missiles could overwhelm a carrier group’s ability to intercept with a limited supply of missiles. This is where the laser comes in.
The U.S. Army is developing its own laser weapon, the IFIR-HEL (Indirect Fires Protection Capability High Energy Laser), which has a range of 300 kilowatts and is designed to intercept missiles, artillery and mortars.
The Office of Naval Research placed an order with Northrup Grumman for the first time in 2015 for $ 53 million to develop the LWSD of the 150 kilowatt class.
“For about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot, we are offering the Navy a high-precision defense approach that will protect not only their sailors, but also their wallets,” said Guy Renard, director and program manager.
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