US Navy Ground Based Combat Laser

The Ground-Based Air Defense On-the-Move is a vehicle-based, mobile, high-energy laser that is a cost-effective defense against asymmetric threats like UAVs. GBAD’s evolution has mirrored that of other directed-energy programs sponsored by ONR, including the Laser Weapon System (LaWS).

A three vehicle laser system should be demoed with on the move downing of drones using a 30 kilowatt laser in 2017.

* one vehicle has the 30 kw laser
* one has 360 radar and tracking
* one has command and control and communication

The volumetric search RADAR locates unmanned aerial system (UAS) targets of interest and passes the information to the C3 platform. The C3 platform performs an analysis of the threat and passes the radar information to the laser platform, which then locates and begins tracking the UAS utilizing a day/night capable sensor system. This then allows the C3 platform to perform visual confirmation and aim point selection. If a kill decision is made, the threat is lased until destruction.

GBAD will demonstrate the capability of a rugged, expeditionary HEL system that can be cued by a radar capable of detecting low radar cross-section threats. It will be able to perform hard kills of UASs to prevent reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition of expeditionary forces. It also will demonstrate a C2 interface that is optimized for operational use.

Significant laser and vehicle modeling and simulation, coupled with a detailed trade-off analysis, led to a sophisticated design strategy. This led to the selection of a palletized laser weapon system design using a planar wave guide laser for 30 kW nominal power; a lightweight reflective beam director; on-board vehicle power enhancements; lithium Ion batteries for power storage; and phase-change material cooling systems that conform to the size, weight and power constraints of using a tactical vehicle platform.

This five-year development effort includes three key demonstrations of increased capabilities and culminating in an on the move end-to-end engagement of UASs in FY17.

FY15: Completely stationary end-to-end engagement
FY16: Demonstrate an at-the-halt single engagement, with mobile cueing / tracking
FY17: Demonstrate full mobility between multiple engagements

The Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD) Directed Energy On-the-Move Future Naval Capabilities program calls for a field demonstration of a Humvee-mounted short-range laser weapon system with a minimum power output of 25kW. The Raytheon-built laser will be packaged to meet the U.S. Marine Corps’ demanding size, weight and power requirements. Illustration: Raytheon

SOURCES – Navy Research, Youtube