Farnborough, UK: Raytheon and a U.S. Navy team used a combined-beam fiber laser to shoot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in flight during an over-the-water engagement.
The UAV targets were engaged and destroyed using the Navy’s Laser Weapon System guided by Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-in Weapon System sensor suite. LaWS is made up of six industrial-use lasers that simultaneously focus on the target.
“These engagements validate the operational viability of the Phalanx-LaWS combination at sea,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems. “The Raytheon- Navy team demonstrated the systems’ capability to detect, track, engage and defeat dynamic targets at tactically significant ranges in a maritime environment.”
For the test, the LaWS was mounted on a stable platform close to the Phalanx Block 1B mount. The Phalanx operator used the Block 1B’s surface mode to perform electro-optical tracking and the system’s radio frequency sensors to provide range data to the LaWS. When the Phalanx acquired the UAV, the LaWS destroyed the target.
“The Raytheon-Navy team is moving directed energy solutions toward utility in the battlespace to provide warfighters with speed-of-light protection,” said Lawrence. “This shoot down leverages the significant investment the Navy has made in the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System and extends its combat-proven leadership in close-in defense systems.”