The amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD-27) completed a critical test of a laser weapon system earlier this month off the coast of Hawaii, disabling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the process.
The test took place May 16 using the Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) MK 2 MOD 0, the Navy said in a statement.
The Office of Naval Research developed the laser, and its usage on the Portland is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser.
“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 Portland, in the statement.
Video of the engagement is embedded below.
The Navy hopes to develop lasers as reliable defensive weapons, radiating energy and causing damage that neutralizes enemy targets. With the rise of drones, small boats, and other anti-ship countermeasures, the Navy believes lasers could be key to protecting ships in the future.
“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, “ said Sanders. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”
PACIFIC OCEAN (May 21, 2020) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) successfully tests a Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) Mark 2 MOD 0.The SSL-TM program builds on the Office of Naval Research’s previous directed-energy developments, like the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), successfully tested at-sea in 2014, aboard the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (ASB(I)) 15. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)