Navy’s Ship-Board Laser Weapon
The United States Navy has been working in collaboration with Northrop Grumman under a three-year deal in order to design and develop a ship board laser weapon. This weapon will be engineered to promptly incinerate enemy aircrafts, drones, small boats, ships, as well as missiles.
"This system employs multi-spectral target detection and track capabilities as well as an advanced off-axis beam director with improved fiber laser technologies to provide extended target engagement ranges,”
said the director of the Air Warfare and Weapons branch of the Office of Naval Research, Dr. Tom Beutner.
“Improvements of high power fiber lasers used to form the laser beam enable the increased power levels and extended range capabilities. Lessons learned, operating procedures, updated hardware and software derived from previous systems will be incorporated in this demonstration.”
This deal is valued at $53 million and will have a Laser Weapon System Demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research through three phases; the phases will encompass an initial design phase, a ground-testing phase, and ultimately a weapons testing phase at sea aboard a Navy Self Defense test ship.
“The company will design, produce, integrate, and support the shipboard testing of a 150-kilowatt-class solid state (electric) laser weapon system,”
said a statement from Northrop Grumman.
“The contract could grow to a total value of $91 million over 34 months if ONR exercises all of its contract options.”
“The possibilities can become integrated prototypes -- and the prototypes become reality when they become acquisition programs,”
said an official from the Office of Naval Research.
“It is way too early to determine if this system will ever become operational. Northrop Grumman has been funded to set-up a demo to "demonstrate" the capabilities to senior leadership, who will then determine whether it is an asset worth further funding and turning into a program of record,”
said a United States Navy official.