Navy requests proposals for new high power surface laser

April 14, 2017

Defense Systems:

The Navy is collecting industry proposals for the development of a new Surface Navy Laser Weapon (SNLW), as part of the its very first Rapid Prototyping, Experimentation Demonstration (RPED) project to install a more powerful directed energy weapon in the Arleigh Burke class destroyer.

The SNLW system project, known as the Sea Saber Program until just a few weeks ago, is an initiative by the Integrated Warfare Systems 2.0 office, according to Rear Adm. Tom Druggan, Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center, who spoke at the Navy League’s Sea, Air & Space exhibition last week.

The goal of the new surface laser weapon project is to create a laser that has at least 65kW of power and counter-ISR dazzling ability that can be integrated with the Aegis Combat System of the Arleigh Burke class, according to the Request for Information.

The previous laser deployed in 2014 was a 30 kW weapon, according to a Defense Systems report last year. A 65kW laser, like the proposed SNLW, would be a more effective weapon, but also a more energy-consuming one.

“The Navy will be looking at ships’ servers to provide three times that much power,” Donald Klick, Director of business development for DRS Power and Control Technologies told Defense Systems earlier this year. In other words, a 65kW laser would require almost 200kW of input power.

The latest progress in terms of electrical power for systems like the SNLW is the Energy Magazine II, an effort to increase available power onboard ships through eliminating intermediate power equipment stages, such as capacitors, filters and transistors, according to Mr. Steve Markle, Director of the Electric Ships Office. The latest Integrated Power Energy System initiative aims to achieve the ability to generate 1200 volts of DC power, Markle said…

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