as the Northrop Grumman tests out its new
100 KW solid state laser cannon as part of a $98M
USD Maritime Laser Demonstration program with the
U.S. Navy to defend against ships, Raytheon is offering a new
guidance system that may be capable of aiming laser batteries against
airborne targets.In May, the U.S. Navy coupled six
solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts (the Navy's
Laser Weapon System, LaWS) to Raytheon's Phalanx
Close-In Weapon System sensors. The result was
successful kills of four unmanned aerial vehicles.Raytheon is
showing grainy black and white video of
test for the first time at the U.K.'sFarnborough
International Air Show 2010.The tests were conducted near
weapons and training facility on San
Nicolas Island in California's Santa Barbara Channel.
Phalanx used radio-frequency (radar) sensors and electro-optical
tracking to direct the laser's aim on targets.The results
were impressive and easily surpassed Raytheon's 2006 destruction of a
static mortar shell, and 2008 destruction of an incoming (in motion)
mortar shell over land. Still, Mike Booen, vice president of
Raytheon's Advanced Security and Directed Energy Systems product line
insists that the successful tests are only the start and that the
full system will not be finalized until 2016, at the
earliest.Interestingly, the Phalanx system is nothing new.
It has typically been coupled, though with traditional munition based
weapons, such as the 20-mm Gatling
gun. The laser-equipped system would likely more than
double the range of the traditional Gatling gun.The laser
anti-aircraft batteries could be useful to counter hostile nations
like Iran that have reportedly developed
UAV capabilities. Coupled with the Maritime Laser
Demonstration (MLD) cannons, they could offer an unprecedented
warship. States Northrop spokesman Bob Bishop, "The MLD
system we are under contract to build for [the U.S. Office of Naval
Research] will be scalable to a variety of power levels. That
means that laser power can be added—or subtracted—to meet the
level of response necessary to address the threat, all within the
same modular laser weapon system."The MLD program will
complete its tests by the end of year. The tests will be
performed at 15 KW -- a mere fraction of the laser's full power.
If all goes well, Northrop Grumman may be able to test shots at
higher power levels, afterwards.Both the U.S.
Army and the Air
Force are also currently evaluating and testing laser
quote: the Iranian government is an Islamic government that ousted the pro-American (Shah) government. They have been very hostile to us since then.
quote: Nobody mentioned their aggressive actions against many ships at the entrance to the Persian Gulf (Strait of Hormuz), including playing chicken with a US Navy Destroyer.
quote: Ooohhh my, how can this stand? They're being "aggressive"! They're not letting us walk all over them and steal from them and they're defending their territorial waters and borders! Oooohhh what aggression they're SO scary!