The U.S. Navy recently announced that the “layered laser defense” system developed in cooperation with Lockheed Martin successfully shot down a target drone flying at subsonic speeds and simulated anti-ship missiles in a test, setting a record in the U.S. military’s laser weapons test as: Shot down the fastest target ever.
The U.S. Navy installed the AN/SEQ-3 laser weapon system developed by Kratos on the amphibious landing ships USS Ponce and USS Portland in 2014 and 2021, respectively. System, LaWS), the main target is to counter UAVs and rockets and other slow-moving small targets.
Although LaWS has accumulated a lot of actual combat experience and research materials over the years, the ultimate goal of the US Navy for laser weapons is to counter threats such as faster and larger anti-ship missiles.
Therefore, the Navy Research Office (Navy Research Office of the Pentagon, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defence Research and Engineering), in partnership with Lockheed Martin, to develop what it calls the Layered Laser Defence weapon (LLD).
It can target drone flying at subsonic speed
Although the U.S. Navy has not stated the maximum power figures for the LLD, because the system uses the same solid-state laser system as the LaWS, the LaWS tested on the USS Portland in 2021 has increased the power from the original 15 compared to the USS Pons. ～50 kW, increased to 300kW level, so since the LLD tested this time can successfully shoot down the target drone flying at subsonic speed, it is estimated that the power has exceeded 300kW.
The U.S. Navy pointed out that another key point of the LLD system is the artificial intelligence system responsible for detection, tracking and targeting. If the LLD can be successfully mass-produced in the future, this laser defense system will be able to match, or even replace the active close-up Defensive Weapon System (CIWS), and does not require additional personnel to operate, reducing the manpower on board.
Different from the LaWS system of testing nature, the LLD system of the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin will be the mass-produced version of the laser defense system for future U.S. ships. replace.