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  • Raytheon Laser Shoots Down Drone
Jul 2010
FARNBOROUGH, UK, July 19, 2010 — Raytheon Co. and a US Navy team used a combined-beam fiber laser to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in flight during an over-the-water engagement.

The UAV targets were engaged and destroyed using the Navy's Laser Weapon System (LaWS) guided by Raytheon's Phalanx Close-in Weapon System sensor suite. The Phalanx-LaWS system is made up of six industrial-use lasers that simultaneously focus on the target.

A Raytheon-US Navy team is working to add a solid-state laser to the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System. (Image: Raytheon Co.)

"These engagements validate the operational viability of the Phalanx-LaWS combination at sea," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. "The Raytheon-Navy team demonstrated the systems' capability to detect, track, engage and defeat dynamic targets at tactically significant ranges in a maritime environment."

For the test, the LaWS was mounted on a stable platform close to the Phalanx Block 1B mount. The Phalanx operator used the Block 1B's surface mode to perform electro-optical tracking and the system's radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS. When the Phalanx acquired the UAV, the LaWS destroyed the target.

"The Raytheon-Navy team is moving directed-energy solutions toward utility in the battlespace to provide warfighters with speed-of-light protection," Lawrence said. "This shoot-down leverages the significant investment the Navy has made in the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System and extends its combat-proven leadership in close-in defense systems."

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fiber laser
A laser in which the lasing medium is an optical fiber doped with low levels of rare-earth halides to make it capable of amplifying light. Output is tunable over a broad range and can be broadband. Laser diodes can be used for pumping because of the fiber laser's low threshold power, eliminating the need for cooling.
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