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March 14, 2013

Military lasers on fighters in 2014 and ships in 2016

A prediction that I made in 2006 was that Military lasers on fighters, ships and tanks able to destroy other vehicles would begin to be seen in 2012-2018.

In 2011, the Navy used laser to set fire to a small boat



The US Navy $110 million program for high energy lasers to have installation on some US ships by 2016

The Navy sees a modular open-systems approach as best way to develop a directed-energy laser gun with a maximum 150 kW output. A 100 kW laser weapon could be used on board a US Navy ship by 2016, according to a document outlining a $110 million plan to further develop such “directed energy” systems.

The US Navy has identified two ship classes – the Arleigh Burke Destroyer (DDG-51) and the Littoral Combat Ship – as primary candidates for initial shipboard installation, which are likely to follow extensive at-sea tests on other boats as the systems are developed.

Previously it was announced that a 150 kilowatt lasers will be on a fighter jet plane for prototype work in 2014.



The BAA describes a development program that will evolve in four phases. Phase I, which is likely to include four separate $1.5 million firm-fixed-price contracts and is slated for fiscal year 2013, will be focused on conceptual designs.

Phase II will provide for more detailed design and development work in FY2014, with a maximum two systems going forward to the prototype stage. Phase III, running between FY2014 and FY2016, will involve manufacturing, assembly and testing of the solid-state laser weapon(s) and finally Phase IV will see deployment in a US Navy “program of record” overseen by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

The BAA follows on from a pre-proposal conference and industry day that was hosted by ONR earlier this summer, and full proposals from interested parties are due October 16. Phase I contract awards will be made 4-6 months later, assuming that the project funding does not fall foul of the automatic “sequestration” of the Department of Defense budget at the end of the year.

Excalubur laser

What about using a reflective coating for counter measures ?

It will be difficult and costly to coat all ships, tanks and planes with a shiny and reflective surface and if that is done then they would easier to visually spot and target with other weapons. Having a lot of high energy lasers will force the opponent and eventually all combatants to have to plan for another method of attack. If a boxer is always protecting against a punch to the head then he could leave himself open to body blows or a kick to the groin.

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