US Navy Demonstrates New Super Laser

Recently, footage surfaced across multiple news sources demonstrating the US Navy‘s new LaWS (Laser Weapon System). Using an infrared solid state laser, this depictions successful hits on both sea and air targets. In the wake of the USS Cole disaster on October 12, 2000, the US Navy and the Department of Defense have prioritized developing technologies to thwart small, fast moving craft. In the developing world of asymmetric warfare, counter measures that can strike successive small, fast moving targets is pivotal.

Where Did the LaWS Come From?

Traditionally, close-to-medium range solution of the US Navy’s fleet was the CIWS (“Sea Whiz”). Originally designed to tackle issues such as the Exocet Air-to-Surface missile – capable of weaving across the top of the water’s surface before striking the hull of the ship – the CIWS performed remarkably well. While formidable, it had quite a few limitations in terms of air defense. It also had plenty of blind spots in terms of hitting small watercraft.

Lasers don’t have bullet jams or real limitations such as calculating the flight path for ballistic trajectory. However, laser weapon systems have a huge energy requirement to overcome. In order to get enough directed energy to strike a target with meaningful impact, the US Navy needed to focus a great deal of its military ship capabilities to energy production.

Winning the eleven million dollar contract, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions worked in close collaboration with Lockheed Martin to implement this new laser system onto the deck of the US Navy Fleet. (more…)

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The LaWS is unique in that it uses a solid state laser – an energy intensive form of laser energy. In order to make it viable, they placed the first working prototype upon th