US Navy Set The Goal Of Developing Laser Weapons, Should Be Incorporated On Destroyers, Cruisers

If Star Wars teaches us anything other than the ways of the Force, it’s that laser guns are incredibly fun, and that they have that weird firing sound (don’t know who was the guy to come up with it, but he sure made one of the most famous sound effects of all times). Now, the US Navy wants to incorporate its own laser weapon on cruisers and destroyers, but without the wacky sound effects (or with them, after all, the project is still in prototype phase).

The laser-based weapon system should be relatively low cost, and it should be able to destroy (or better to say fry) incoming enemy drones, aircraft, missiles, and even small boats. Developing a laser weapon should go through three phases: the initial design phase, ground-testing phase and weapons testing at sea aboard a Navy Self Defense test ship.

The project is conducted by Northrop Grumman, its total worth is around $53 million, but can rise up to $91 million (low cost if we compare it to other weapon projects, like developing the latest F-35 fighter jet), and should be finished in 12 months.

Northrop Grumman issued a statement that reads, “the company will design, produce, integrate, and support the shipboard testing of a 150-kilowatt-class solid state (electric) laser weapon system. The contract could grow to a total value of $91 million over 34 months if ONR exercises all of its contract options.”

The program won’t bring a working, full-fledged laser weapons, at least for now. The current goal is to engineer a prototype laser weapon that will go through further testing before it can be used in full service. The clear advantage of the program is that the weapon will be relatively cheap to manufacture, it could quickly deal with incoming threats, and it will be incredibly precise, which could lead to the development of the anti-laser systems by other countries, maybe even to the development of alternative laser weapon systems.

One Northrop Grumman official explained how lasers could massively cut the cost of equipping warships with countermeasures against enemy forces. He said that “For about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot, we’re offering the Navy a high-precision defensive approach that will protect not only its (Navy’s) sailors but also its wallet.”

While the new laser weapon system is still far from being operational, US Navy already deployed a laser weapon system called LaWS (Laser Weapons System, quite creative). LaWS is operational for months now, it is capable of destroying stationary as well as moving targets, and is installed aboard the USS Ponce, stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Not only LaWS is capable of destroying targets, it’s also quite good at reconnaissance and surveillance since it’s equipped with a long-range telescope capable of scanning targets that are quite far from the ship. We can’t wait to see the next generation of laser weapons. They are quite cost efficient, more precise and can focus on destroying a single target; perfect for urban areas since US Army (as well as some other armies, like Russian) are known for having civilian “collaterals” after almost every urban area strike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *