The Navy is about to take a big step for military-kind; this summer they will add the first ship-mounted laser to their fleet. The USS Ponce will be equipped with a laser weapon. When it puts to sea this summer, the afloat forward staging base ship USS Ponce will be equipped with the Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS).
LaWS is a system based on a design developed by the Navy Research Lab and engineers at the Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren.
The weapon system effective against anything from high powered drones to small watercraft.
One of the things they’re able to do as this technology develops is take the complicated laser technology that’s available and reduce it down to the point where it could be operated by a single sailor.
The decision as to which ships will actually get these systems is still being discussed, but Ziv says that the possibilities are very extensive as to which ships they could go on.
“One of the advantages of the laser system we’re using is that it’s based on commercial technologies. It’s fairly efficient compared to other lasers, and because of that, it can be powered on a lot of different platforms, using existing power sources.”
The approach is to evolve the technology and build it in ways where it could be used in any variety of land and sea-based applications. They are work very closely, especially with the Naval Sea Systems Command, with the ship integrators, and they work with others looking at land-based applications as well.
Ships with lasers on their hulls and rail are on the horizon. It really is the start of a new era. It is the age of technological warfare, but that would be a little too grandiose. It seems the military is taking the right steps toward smarter, faster, more cost efficient weaponry.
SOURCES – US Navy Laser weapons site, DODlive Science, Youtube