Fiber Laser Takes Out Airborne Targets

Raytheon Co. and a United States Navy team used a combined-beam fi ber laser weapon system to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in fl ight during an over-the-water engagement. The UAVs were engaged and destroyed using the US Navy's Laser Weapon System (LaWS) guided by Raytheon's Phalanx Close-in Weapon System sensor suite. LaWS is made up of six industrial-grade high-power lasers that simultaneously focus a lethal dose of energy on the target.

Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, President of Raytheon Missile Systems, explained that "These engagements validate the operational viability of the Phalanx-LaWS combination at sea. The Raytheon-US Navy team demonstrated the systems' capability to detect, track, engage and defeat dynamic targets at tactically signifi cant ranges in a maritime environment." As part of the test, the LaWS was positioned on a stable platform close to the Phalanx Block 1B mount. The Phalanx operator used the Block 1B's surface mode to perform electro-optical tracking and the system's radiofrequency (RF) sensors to provide target range data to the LaWS. When the Phalanx acquired suffi cient targeting information on each UAV, the LaWS used that information to locate and destroy the target.

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