Sunday, March 11, 2018

US Navy Wants Almost $300 Million for Laser Weapons in FY2019

The Navy proposed spending $299 million in Fiscal Year 2019 on laser systems to protect ships against current and anticipated future threats, as part of a rapid prototyping, experimentation and demonstration initiative.

For nearly a decade, the Navy has considered laser technology a more cost-efficient and effective tool to protect ships from emerging threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and small patrol craft that could swarm a surface ship, according to a Congressional Research Service report, Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress.

The Navy wants to move development of lasers a step closer to deployment, according to budget documents released by the Navy earlier this month.

In the upcoming fiscal year, the Navy wants to purchase four ship-mounted Surface Navy Laser Weapon Systems (SNLWS), which include a High Energy Laser with an integrated low-power laser dazzler. If successful, this system would provide ships with a new means of countering unmanned aerial vehicles, fast inshore attack craft and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets.

The Navy also hopes to install two Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy systems (ODIN) on Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyers in the upcoming fiscal year. This system is described by budget documents as being a near-term shipboard counter-ISR capability.

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