US Navy relies on laser cannon as tactical weapon

The story of David versus Goliath is already in the Bible. This shows that even small attackers can be dangerous. The top military officials of the US Navy know this too. The increasing use of drones is probably of particular concern to you. For example, in the battle for the Nagorno-Karabakh region, these provided the decisive advantage in favor of Azerbaijan. They also play an important role in the current war in Ukraine. Until now, however, many American battleships have only been able to defend themselves to a limited extent against small and fast attackers. Especially if they attack from the air. In the future, at least one more option will be available to the commanders on board. Because the American defense company Lockheed Martin has delivered a new type of laser cannon. This will now be fully integrated into the systems of the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble. So it can be used tactically in conjunction with the other weapons on board.

The laser can shoot down or blind drones

This is a first, there have been experiments with laser weapons on board warships in the past. However, these still had to be operated individually at that time and were not linked to the attack technology that was still available. The system developed by Lockheed Martin engineers is called “High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance” – which can be easily summarized as Helios. The integrated laser has a power of 60 kilowatts and can be used in two ways. Mobile targets such as drones can also be directly destroyed with a high-energy fiber laser. However, it’s also possible to use a less powerful laser that only blinds a drone’s cameras and sensors to the point that they can no longer be used. Theoretically, it is also conceivable to use the laser beam for reconnaissance.

The Bundeswehr has also experimented with laser weapons

The new laser weapon is now undergoing extensive testing on the American Preble under reasonably realistic conditions. If there are no problems, other warships can also be equipped with the new laser weapon. Lockheed Martin also does not see itself at the end of development. Rather, the group speaks of a solid basis from which the system must be continuously developed. The idea is not entirely new either. The Bundeswehr has also experimented with laser weapons in the past. However, these did not come from Lockheed Martin, but from a European consortium. Here too, however, it was pure testing without full integration. The US Air Force can now actually take drones out of the sky with lasers. However, the systems used there were designed for land use. The use on the high seas is probably a bit more complex.