Navy to Test Powerful 150-Kilowatt Laser

Discussion in 'U.S. Navy' started by AMDR, Jun 23, 2016.

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  1. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    By Yasmin Tadjdeh

    The U.S. Navy, which has already developed a 30-kilowatt laser that has been used operationally, will soon test a new directed energy weapon that is five times more powerful, said the vice chief of naval operations July 23.

    The Office of Naval Research “will perform a shipboard test of a 150-killowatt laser weapon system in the near future,” said Adm. Bill Moran during a speech at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Directed Energy Summit, which was held in Washington, D.C.


    More at: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=2233

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    Does anybody know the number of kW it would take to bring down an anti-ship missile fairly quickly? I cant find a solid number anywhere. Either way, we are getting closer to that Holy Grail it seems.
     
  2. Freyja

    Freyja 2nd Lieutenant

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    This is a great question. Unfortunately, I've no idea:D. But a 50KW laser will go through 15mm of steel from 1000 yards. How fast does it take to do that? The source doesn't say.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/23/3794814/rheinmetall-50kw-laser-weapon

    Here's the US Navy's 50KW laser CIWS intercepting a UAV at the Farnborough airshow in 2010.



    It take about 10 seconds to destroy the UAV from an unknown distance. Missile skins tend to be a bit thicker then your average small UAV.

    [​IMG]

    Tomahawk is a few inches think, but I'd posit that at 150 KW, not only will the intercept be at a longer range, greater then 1000 yards, but it'll take less then 10 seconds as well.

    Can't wait for the test:). Hope there's a video too.
     
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  3. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    After some deep digging I found these:

    navyhighpowerlasers7.png navyhighpowerlasers1.png screenshot-fas.org 2014-11-16 10-17-16.png screenshot-fas.org 2014-11-16 10-15-16.png

    According to the graphics, defense against subsonic cruise missiles starts at ~300 kW, enhances that capability at 500 kW, and self defense against supersonic CMs and RVs at ~1 MW.

    Group defense at 20 kilometers with a 3 MW laser sound amazing but realistically there is no way we are going to have something like that until at least the 2030s, plus only the Ford, Zumwalt, and Arleigh-Burke Replacement could have the power to handle something like that. Still interesting nonetheless.

    Another interesting note was the mention of spoofing/jamming EO-guided CMs with a 60-100 kW laser on that last chart. SEWIP Block 4 is planned to also have some countermeasures against EO/IR threats, so this gives us a nice little double whammy on those type of targets late in the 2020s

    We went from fielding the LaWS (30 kW) to the new laser about to be tested (150 kW) in two years, a power increase of 5 times. So IMO its not unrealistic to think that a 300 kW monster could be tested before this decade is out, and fielded in numbers early in the 2020s to give us that cheap defense against plentiful subsonic ASCMs.
     

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  4. Freyja

    Freyja 2nd Lieutenant

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    Do you think the US will ever transition back towards nuclear surface ships like the California class cruisers?

    [​IMG]

    For a single laser CWIS, augmented by missiles like SeaRAM, modern engines would provide enough power, but if lasers are to be proliferated a bit more, say as a replacement for both gun and missiles CWIS systems, would the same engines have the necessary energy generation capabilities?

    Nuke ships are costly, but could they be necessary too?
     
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  5. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    Great find.
    Thats a good idea, bring back nuclear powered ships. I never thought about that one. I have heard that the nuclear reactors in submarines could technically power a small town.
     
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  6. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    I think it is definitely possible given the huge amount of power some of these next generation radar and weapon systems are going to require. This will most likely be on the "Arleigh-Burke Replacement Class" (FSC) when looking into the near-mid future. Like you said it will be very costly to build a class of ships with nuclear reactors, but this could be offset by some things:

    • Newer generation nuclear reactors are going to last the entire life of the ship, so there will be no long and expensive refueling process. This is projected to save A LOT of money on the Ohio-replacement program (http://www.nationaldefensemagazine....werPlantsonNewSubmarinesMayLast40PlusYears.as)
    • Would have no problems in terms of power generation --- multiple MW type lasers and a 32MJ railgun; plus a large SPY-6 array and powerful electronic warfare suite if we are talking about the 2030s.
    • Unlimited range just like the carriers, only limited by provisions and weapons.
    • Would relieve some pressure on the support vessels (No more at-sea refueling for this class)
    • Since it will be built in very large numbers to replace some of the 70+ Burkes, economies of scale will work its magic in reducing the price per ship drastically just like the F-35 program.
    I give it a 50/50 chance that they put a reactor on this next class. There are a lot of benefits but a lot of costs too.
     
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