Naval Directed-Energy Weapons — No Longer A Future Weapon Concept

Directed–energy weapon (DEW) technologies typically take the form of HIGH ENERGY LASER (HELs), High-Power Microwave Surface (HPMs), and charged-particle beams. This article focuses on the first two technology areas, as they have reached the point of being ready for operational testing and evaluation, and in some cases, operational use on the battlefield. DEWs have been…

Airborne Laser

The ABL weapon system consists of a high-energy, chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) mounted on a modified 747-400F (freighter) aircraft to shoot down theater ballistic missiles in their boost phase. A crew of four, including pilot and copilot, would be required to operate the airborne laser, which would patrol in pairs at high altitude, about…

The Future Is Now: Navy To Deploy Lasers On Ships By 2014

The Pentagon has plans to deploy its first ever ship-mounted laser next year, a disruptive, cutting-edge weapon capable of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles with a blast of infrared energy. Navy officials announced Monday that in early 2014, a solid-state laser prototype will be mounted to the fantail of the USS Ponce and…

Lasers As Weapons

The U.S. military’s research program on laser weapons continues to make strides in demonstrating the potential of directed energy to defend against missiles, artillery shells, and other explosives at the speed of light. Laser weapons have been used in test firings from the ground to successfully shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and to destroy…

Raytheon’s Ship-Mounted Laser Weapon Incinerates a UAV in Flight

Raytheon revealed its next-gen directed energy weapon at the Farnborough Air Show, releasing video showing its Laser Weapons System (LaWS) — a six-laser weapon that focuses on a single target — engaging and then destroying an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) from the deck of a Navy vessel at sea. The tests conducted show the LaWS…