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US Navy Demonstrates Solid-State Laser Capable of Disabling Aircraft

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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii, May 27, 2020 — The U.S. Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland successfully disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle May 16 with a Solid-State Laser — Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD).

The LWSD is a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on the Portland for an at-sea demonstration. The LWSD's operational employment on a Pacific Fleet ship is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy solid-state laser. The laser system was developed by Northrup Grumman.

“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small craft, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid-State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” said Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of the Portland.

The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), including lasers, since the 1960s. DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.

The U.S. Navy said its ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversarial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. The Navy’s development of DEWs such as the LWSD provides immediate benefits and provides commanders with increased decision space and response options.

“The Solid-State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems,” Sanders said. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”

Photonics.com
May 2020
GLOSSARY
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.
Research & Technologydefense & securitymilitary & defenseU.S. NavyHigh Energylaser weaponsolid-state laserlasersdefense

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