Aug. 15, 2012 at 3:13 PM ET
The U.S. Navy wants to shoot enemy drones and boats with solid-state lasers. And it wants them soon, according to a call for industry proposals issued this week.
“We are in the process of developing a laser weapon prototype for the naval surface fleet to counter small unmanned aerial vehicles and small boat threats,” Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, said in news release.
Specifically, the Office of Naval Research is seeking proposals for the “building and testing of a prototype laser weapon — offshore, at sea, on a moving ship representative of a naval surface combatant at combat speeds, in ‘combat-like’ conditions,” according to the announcement.
The Navy aims to operate the laser weapon from the ship’s available power and cooling systems, and wants it connected to the ship’s combat control and support systems.
A proof-of-concept laser ray gun technology demonstrated at sea in 2011 disabled a small target boat. The video below shows the boat going up in flames.
Up to four $1.5 million awards could go out for the first phase of the contract. For fiscal year 2013-2016, $110 million has been appropriated for the prototype phases, notes Stars and Stripes.