Navy Laser Detects, Tracks Maritime UAVs

By Tish Drake | June 1, 2010
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The Navy said a Detect-Thru-Engage laser successfully tracked, engaged and destroyed a threat representative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) while in flight in an over-the-water scenario.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said the May 24 flight at San Nicholas Island, Calif., marks the first Detect-Thru-Engage laser shoot-down of a threat representative target in an over-the-water, combat representative scenario.

A total of two UAV targets were engaged and destroyed in a maritime environment during the testing, the second series of successes for the U.S. Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS) Program. Members of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)’s Directed Energy and Electric Weapon Systems (DE&EWS) Program Office, Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), Raytheon Missile Systems and Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren fired a laser through a beam director on a KINETO Tracking Mount, controlled by a MK 15 Close In Weapon System (CIWS). This brings to a total of seven UAVs destroyed by the Surface Navy’s first tactical development for fielding a Directed Energy weapon system.

"The success of this effort validates the military utility of DE&EWS in a maritime environment. Further development and integration of increasingly more powerful lasers into Surface Navy LaWS will increase both the engagement range and target sets that can be successfully engaged and destroyed," said Program Manager Capt. David Kiel.

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