Enemy drones over the ocean may observe and surveil U.S. Navy ships, designate targets for plane or maritime assaults, and even fireplace harmful weapons themselves at floor ships.
This actuality is considered one of many key causes the Navy has now put in a brand new counter drone “dazzler” laser weapon aboard considered one of its destroyers for the primary time, bringing new offensive and defensive warfare prospects to the fleet.
The Navy’s Optical Dazzling Interdictor, or ODIN laser weapon, was put in on the united statesDewey guided missile destroyer lately, a report from Naval Sea Programs Command stated.
The ODIN is, amongst different issues, particularly configured to trace and disable enemy drones, throwing them astray and jamming its sensors,in keeping with a December, 2019, Congressional Analysis Service report referred to as Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile:
“The weapon will also feed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data into the ship’s combat system and provide a counter-UAS (C-UAS) ISR dazzler capability. The dazzler uses a lower power setting to confuse or reduce ISR capabilities of a hostile UAS,” the report states, in reference to the Navy’s ODIN…. and a weapon now laying the inspiration for a growing laser system referred to as HELIOS, or Excessive Power Laser with Built-in Optical-Dazzler and Surveillance system.
Laser weapons can’t solely incinerate enemy targets but additionally surveil, observe and goal attacking platforms as nicely. Whereas ODIN and HELIOS are rising laser weapons engineered with superior know-how for present and future functions, the Navy deployed its Laser Weapons System, or LAWs on the united statesPonce a few years in the past. Integration on the united statesDewey is the primary time lasers have been introduced into Navy destroyers.
The combination of laser weapons onto Navy destroyers is quickly increasing throughout the service’s total fleet of warships, to incorporate the Navy’s rising DDG 51 Flight III next-generation destroyers now in manufacturing. These ships, in keeping with DDG 51-class Program Supervisor Capt. Seth Miller, are constructed with two further consoles. These programs, together with different superior applied sciences constructed into Flight III, are particularly supposed to allow the combination of future weapons onto the ship. The profitable software of laser weapons requires adequate quantities of cellular electrical energy, a phenomenon which continues to encourage the Navy’s technical developments for its floor drive. Smaller type elements, cellular energy “surge” applied sciences and superior fireplace management programs are all quick enhancing as Navy builders proceed to develop laser weapons for ships.
“There is a margin left over on Flight III for upgrades, which include the allowance of additional space, weight and power. (for lasers and other weapons). Upgrades to the ship’s combat systems are an ongoing process,” Miller stated, talking in January, 2020 on the 32nd Annual Floor Navy Affiliation Symposium, Arlington, Va.
“We have 21 ships under contract. DGG 118 and DDG 119 (Navy Destroyers) will deliver later this year,” Miller added.
Aso, alongside the Navy’s DDG 51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the Navy’s new USS Zumwalt stealthy destroyer can be configured for laser weapons. As evidenced by the united statesDewey, ship-based laser integration is not only one thing for the future–it is right here.
“Right now there is a lot of development going on with lasers, including work on a road map that goes out into the future. We have space, weight and power on this ship class to incorporate that kind of capability in the future,” Zumwalt Program Supervisor Capt. Kevin Smith, instructed reporters at SNA.
On the similar time, there may be nonetheless a lot work to be carried out, as defined in an fascinating essay from Nationwide Protection College’s quarterly PRISM Journal, referred to as “Directed Energy is Here…and Disruptive,” by Trey Obering. (Ret. Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, former Missile Protection Company director and present govt at Booz Allen Hamilton).
Obering argues that ongoing laser modernization methods, methods and applied sciences now rising for plane, area and ship-based lasers needs to be pursued in a collaborative vogue.
“The United States will soon be reaching the point where it can generate a megawatt of power in a size, weight, and volume capable of being put on a high-altitude aircraft or space-based platform. As DOD works to develop and incorporate these technologies…Much of the work should be collaborative, such as improvements in materials, power generation, thermal control…ect.,” Obering writes.
On the similar time, Obering factors out that key variations between numerous laser functions, reminiscent of “fundamental differences such as the wavelength of the lasers and the beam quality required for success,” needs to be “service-differentiated.”
Lastly, Obering says that, as a result of means of lasers to journey on the velocity of sunshine, they could possibly be efficient in opposition to hypersonic weapons.
“One of the greatest attributes of directed energy weapons is that they operate at the speed of light. So, for a hypersonic weapon that is travelling at 25 times the speed of sound, a high- energy laser can engage it at roughly 35,000 times its speed. This makes targeting and tracking easier as well,” Obering writes within the PRISM essay.