JED - November 2017 - 27

US NAVY

DIRECTED ENERGY FROM AIR AND SEA: FROM MISSILE COUNTERMEASURES TO LASER CANNON
DIRCM is one of the most low-intensity uses of directed energy for military purposes, perhaps aside from laser
range-finders and lidar (also known as
ladar and laser radar). With the exception of the US Navy's AN/SEQ-3 Laser
Weapon Systems (LAWS), today's operational laser DIRCMs are designed to
distract or decoy incoming missile seekers, not to destroy either the sensor
electronics or the missile's airframe and
control surfaces.
But many new programs are now
funded to eventually use directed energy for other, more intensive and
high-energy purposes. Pentagon sources
claim $673 million has been allocated
in FY17 for high-energy laser development in the FY18 DoD budget released
in May 2017, with $3.4 billion programmed through FY21. While Boeing's
747-mounted Airborne Laser (ABL) of
the 2000s may be the spiritual ancestor
to much of this research, there are now
many new programs and applications,
from General Atomics' ground-based 150
kW-class High Energy Liquid Laser Area
Defense System, delivered for testing
in late 2015, to a June 2017 RFI for the
Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) boostphase ICBM-killing 140-280 kW laser for
eventual deployment on a stratospheric

HALE UAV such as an upgraded Global
Hawk, to a Raytheon high-energy laser
(HEL) pod flight-tested against ground
targets aboard an AH-64 Apache by the
US Army at White Sands Missile Range
in mid-2017. There is also international
work underway, such as the turreted
Dragonfire laser weapon developed by
an MBDA-led consortium (along with
Leonardo and QinetiQ) for the Royal
Navy, unveiled in September 2017. Some
of these applications may not see deployment until future decades, but research is ramping up now.
Perhaps one of the first applications
of what might be called a genuine "laser
cannon" (and in this author's opinion,
one of the coolest) would be a shipmounted anti-missile and anti-aircraft
laser. With much more power available
than any aircraft, satellite, or UAV, and
more mobility than a ground-based installation, the ship that might see fame
as a laser pioneer is the much-maligned
but huge, stealthy, tumble-home hull
21st Century pocket battleship - the
DDG-1000. Currently still in testing,
each ship in the Zumwalt-Class is almost 100 feet longer and displaces 5,000
tons more (15,000 vs. 8-9,000 tons) than
their predecessor Arleigh Burke-Class
destroyers (DDG 51).

The DDG-1002 will now likely mount
an experimental form of electro-magnetic
railgun (EMRG), or possibly a high-energy
solid state laser (SSL), replacing one of the
two 6-inch Advanced Gun Systems. Two
important design features of future naval
ship will be multi-spectral stealth and lots
of available electrical power. The stealth
will reduce the RF and IR signature of the
ships, and the electrical power will enable the use of high-energy lasers that
can shoot down incoming missiles and
aircraft from a seemingly endless magazine. For comparison with the DDG-1000's
reported 78 MW electrical generation capability, the Flight I/II DDG-51 destroyers
reportedly provide just 7.5 MW of power.
The Freedom class LCS-1 generates only 3
MW of power. The Flight III Arleigh Burkes
will need 30-31 MW peak power to operate the new Air and Missile Defense Radar
(AMDR) - the AN/SPY-1 Aegis radar requires only about 5 MW peak power - and
the nuclear reactor in a US submarine or
aircraft carrier may generate up to about
165 MW, but with not much of a mission
today, and quite minimal power requirements when the electric-drive engines are
not turning, a stealthy, anti-missile laser
cannon-armed Zumwalt lurking in the Sea
of Japan could provide an unexpected solution to Korean troubles.

The Journal of Electronic Defense | November 2017

The US Navy's Zumwalt-Class Destroyers (DDG 1000) could field high-energy laser weapons in the future.

27



JED - November 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - November 2017

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Forecast: Future of DIRCM
Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - intro
JED - November 2017 - cover1
JED - November 2017 - cover2
JED - November 2017 - 3
JED - November 2017 - 4
JED - November 2017 - 5
JED - November 2017 - The View From Here
JED - November 2017 - 7
JED - November 2017 - Conferences Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 9
JED - November 2017 - Courses Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 11
JED - November 2017 - From the President
JED - November 2017 - 13
JED - November 2017 - 14
JED - November 2017 - insert1
JED - November 2017 - insert2
JED - November 2017 - The Monitor
JED - November 2017 - 16
JED - November 2017 - 17
JED - November 2017 - 18
JED - November 2017 - 19
JED - November 2017 - 20
JED - November 2017 - 21
JED - November 2017 - 22
JED - November 2017 - 23
JED - November 2017 - World Report
JED - November 2017 - 25
JED - November 2017 - Forecast: Future of DIRCM
JED - November 2017 - 27
JED - November 2017 - 28
JED - November 2017 - 29
JED - November 2017 - 30
JED - November 2017 - 31
JED - November 2017 - 32
JED - November 2017 - 33
JED - November 2017 - 34
JED - November 2017 - Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
JED - November 2017 - 36
JED - November 2017 - 37
JED - November 2017 - 38
JED - November 2017 - Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
JED - November 2017 - 40
JED - November 2017 - 41
JED - November 2017 - 42
JED - November 2017 - 43
JED - November 2017 - 44
JED - November 2017 - 45
JED - November 2017 - 46
JED - November 2017 - 47
JED - November 2017 - 48
JED - November 2017 - 54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
JED - November 2017 - 50
JED - November 2017 - 51
JED - November 2017 - 52
JED - November 2017 - 53
JED - November 2017 - 54
JED - November 2017 - 55
JED - November 2017 - 56
JED - November 2017 - 57
JED - November 2017 - 58
JED - November 2017 - 59
JED - November 2017 - 60
JED - November 2017 - 61
JED - November 2017 - 62
JED - November 2017 - 63
JED - November 2017 - 64
JED - November 2017 - 65
JED - November 2017 - EW 101
JED - November 2017 - 67
JED - November 2017 - 68
JED - November 2017 - AOC News
JED - November 2017 - 70
JED - November 2017 - 71
JED - November 2017 - 72
JED - November 2017 - Index of Advertisers
JED - November 2017 - JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - cover3
JED - November 2017 - cover4
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