Navy Seeks Bids for Ship-Based Laser Weapons
ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 6, 2012 — The Navy wants to become the first of the armed forces to deploy cost-effective, high-energy laser weapons, and it's seeking participation from the laser community.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is soliciting industry proposals to develop an affordable solid-state laser weapon prototype for Navy ships. “We are in the process of developing a laser weapon prototype for the naval surface fleet to counter small unmanned aerial vehicles and small boat threats,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder.
ONR hosted an industry day in May to provide the R&D community with information about its Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) program. Managers incorporated feedback into the call for proposals, which solicits industry’s investment in the program on a number of levels, from subcomponents to systems design.
“We’re looking for an open systems solution to this warfighting capability, because we believe it’s cost-effective and can provide the best value to the government,” said Peter Morrison, ONR program officer.
The SSL-TM program builds on the ONR’s directed-energy developments in kilowatt-scale lasers. Among its programs is the Maritime Laser Demonstration, which developed a proof-of-concept technology that was tested at sea in 2011 aboard a decommissioned Navy ship. The demonstrator was able to disable a small boat target.
During the first week of August, off the California coast, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), ONR, and Navy Air and Missile Defense Command (NAMDC) sponsored a series of successful laser weapon concept development tests aboard a Navy destroyer. The Navy intends to use the technical data collected from this test to inform potential development of a Navy laser weapon system.
For more information, visit: www.onr.navy.mil
- solid-state laser
- A laser using a transparent substance (crystalline or glass) as the active medium, doped to provide the energy states necessary for lasing. The pumping mechanism is the radiation from a powerful light source, such as a flash lamp. The ruby and Nd:YAG lasers are solid-state lasers.
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