US Navy LPD conducts laser weapon system demonstrator test

The San Antonio-class landing platform dock USS Portland at its commissioning on April 23, 2018 (Photo: Oregon National Guard)

The US Navy San Antonio-class landing platform dock (LPD) USS Portland successfully disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using a Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) Mark II Mod 0 on May 16.

The LWSD is a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on Portland for an at-sea demonstration. The system’s operational employment on a Pacific Fleet ship is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser.

The laser system was developed by Northrop Grumman, with full system and ship integration and testing led by Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren and Port Hueneme.

The navy expects that future iterations of the LWSD and other directed-energy weapons (DEWs) will be employed primarily by its surface warships against asymmetrical threats such as armed small boats and unmanned vehicles.

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