Gulf Deployment for US Navy's Laser Weapon


The US Navy is going to deploy a high-power laser ship self-defense system to the Gulf of Arabia early next year. The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) prototype will be installed on the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce and, in addition to undergoing tests in theater, will provide an operational capability against any hostile fast-attack craft or unmanned aircraft.

Video and photos: ONR

The LaWS has been tested on land, in a desert environment at China Lake and in a maritime environment on San Nicholas Island off California. And last July-August the system was tested at sea for the first time, on the destroyer USS Dewey off San Diego. The system shot down three BQM-174A Dragon target drones in three live firings -- taking LaWS to "12 for 12" in tests against UAV targets, Klunder says.

For the Gulf deployment, expected to last six months, the LaWS will be installed as a self-defense weapon and integrated with the Ponce's combat system, including the sensors and operator station for the Phalanx close-in weapon system. Sailors will be trained to operate the system for the deployment, both for testing and to provide an operational capability to defend the ship in the busy Gulf.

Klunder says industry teams are already designing more production-representative systems for a follow-on second phase of the Innovative Naval Prototype program. This is expected to use more powerful military-grade solid-state lasers. ONR's goal is to develop a system that can be installed on existing ships, using power margin already available.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week editors blog their personal views on the defense industry.

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 26, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused of Treason -- The Back Story Revealed 8

A 1957 revelation that the U.S. was tracking Soviet missile launches from a secret radar in Turkey has its roots in sleuthing of students from Kettering Grammar School in the UK....More
Aug 23, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused Of Treason 23

Aviation Week editors routinely get blowback when they write about sensitive topics, and the best example of that may be an October 1957 story that revealed the U.S. had been tracking Russian missile launches from advanced long-range radar units in Turkey....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×