Directed Energy Program
Directed energy weapons, such as high-power lasers or high-power microwaves, and their associated applications as weapons systems have been under investigation since the 1960s and 70s. As part of the survivability and self-defense construct, the Office of Naval Research has commenced development and implementation of the Maritime Laser Demonstration (MLD) Program. The program will develop a laser based proof-of-concept technology, including the demonstration of a full system by the end of the decade that will meet survivability and self-defense capability requirements of U.S. Navy surface combatants for defeating various small boat threats.
The system under development will support at the very minimum the DDG, CG, LSD, LPD, LHA, LHD and FFG ship classes and will utilize advanced directed energy technologies based on solid state lasers, similar to those currently in wide industrial uses. The successful testing and implementation of the MLD technology and the acquired expertise and know-how will enable the subsequent development and confidence for a notional Naval Maritime Laser-Based Weapon System.