In the next two years, the US Navy wants to deploy a 60-kilowatt Helios combat laser aboard a guided-missile destroyer. In 2021, they will install a High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance weapon system aboard a West Coast Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA destroyer.
Above – the 20-kilowatt laser that installed 5 years ago on the USS Ponce
The laser will be able to set small attack boats like those used by Iran on fire and destroy small unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones).
Lockheed Martin has a $150 million contract to develop two of the systems – one for testing on land and a second to be installed on a destroyer. The HELIOS effort is focused on rapid development and rapid fielding of a 60 kW-class high-energy laser (with growth potential to 150 kW) and dazzler in an integrated weapon system, for use in countering UAVs, small boats, and ISR sensors, and for combat identification and battle damage assessment.
The contract includes options for up to 14 additional HELIOS systems that if exercised could increase the total value of the contract to $942.8 million.
There is a congressional report the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS). The US military is looking to replace expensive missiles with Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the gun launched guided projectile (GLGP) (aka hypervelocity projectile -HVP).
Navy missiles range is cost from $800,000 per missile to a few million dollars per missile, depending on the type.
Solid-state lasers (SSLs) such as SNLWS are electrically
powered, drawing their power from the ship’s overall electrical supply, and can be fired over and over, indefinitely, as long as the laser continues to work and the ship has fuel to generate electricity. EMRG’s projectiles and GLGP can be stored by the hundreds in a Navy surface ship’s weapon magazine.
A solid-state laser can be fired for a marginal cost of less than one dollar per shot (which is the cost of the fuel needed to generate the electricity.)
Following SNLWS Increment 1, the Navy’s high-energy SSL effort envisages a successor system, called SNLWS Increment 2, with increased beam power. SNLWS Increment 3 would follow with even more powerful lasers.
SOURCES- USNI, Congressional Services Report -Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile
Written By Brian Wang. Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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10 thoughts on “US Navy Deploying 60-Kilowatt Combat Laser”
I keep seeing a mirror reflecting the laser back at its source! In super hero battles that laser energy is captured to charge a more powerful counterattack. If lasers are used in smart spark plugs we wouldn’t need wars over oil.
plasma plugs are available now.
Graphene coatings provide optical invisibility
maybe that’s equivalent to radar stealth to avoid laser attacks? EMP takes out the power supply.
Ya think? haha.
I think of the opening scenes of “Day of the Triffids”
Whenever I see the “Optical-dazzler” option, I think the idea that enemy is going to be
Like ‘OOH! look at that, that’s amazing…. BOOOM!
Luckily increasing productivity for weapons system just means making missles that blowup and destroy 4 to 10 times more than the Chinese versions… I think we are safe on that front because it’s easy to make weapons that are bigger and destroy more…. take for instance Russia’s satan missle… as if the United States doesn’t have a missle that can blow up half of Russia and China in a single shot… 😉
I asked some people that used to work at Lockheed about that… their response was that they don’t really like making them cheap because they don’t like killing people… err… ok… well that sounded more like the tree hugger rationalization on how to make weapons for a living that kill people without having moral conflicts… we just over charge for them…
The quality of commentary on this site has declined.
Let’s see, you have hundreds of people working for dozens of hours on a missile. Each worker paid $100 per hour for example, heck my plummer wanted more. Add to that the overhead expenses insurance costs, energy use, equipment use cost, pensions and health benefits to the workers etc, etc and it is millions per missile after all.
Ok… I’ll give you 30,000 per missle … shouldnt cost more than a car…
The markup on missles is absurd…millions per missile… it’s probably more like $200 per missle to make them… and 10000% profit in times of peace… because they don’t need them mass produced… how much is a hunk of metals and some electronics no more complicated than a DVD player…
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