US Navy Gears to Deploy Laser Weapon in Two Years
The US Navy’s research office expects that ship-based laser weapons will be ready for deployment in two years, which is two years ahead of previous estimates. But this futuristic weaponry may face setbacks in the form of looming budget cuts.
“We’re well past physics,” Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), told Wired Magazine’s ‘Danger Room’ blog in an interview after announcing his expectations.
“We’re just going through the integration efforts,” he added. “Hopefully, that tells you we’re well mature, and we’re ready to put these on naval ships.”
Earlier, the ONR promised that in two years they would have a working prototype of a laser weapon capable of shooting down drones, cruise missiles and speedboats. The weapons would not be finalized for deployment for four years at that rate.
The ONR head is now saying that field testing of laser weapons has been “very successful,” mentioning a run during which the Navy brought down drones with the prototype lasers.
Klunder, speaking at the ONR’s biennial science and technology conference, also expressed confidence that Navy ships would be able to handle the power requirements for firing these high-tech weapons. “I just need to know on this ship, this particular naval vessel, what are the power requirements, and how do I integrate that directed energy system or railgun system,” he said.
He also announced that the Navy will soon roll out new propulsion systems for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), which would greatly enhance their operational duration before refueling.