First laser tests weapons the US Navy’s sea-based base is expected to be held this summer, the installation will be mounted on the landing craft USS Ponce, which currently serves in the Persian Gulf. Here the ship is used to carry out humanitarian missions and search for mines. Created in the United States, the laser machine was designated LaWS. It was used semiconductor laser. The installation is designed to defeat UAVs and enemy missiles, as well as other small air targets. At least 32 million dollars were spent on the development of this combat laser, while the costs of the program will continue to decrease. At the same time, it was noted that one LaWS impulse costs just a dollar, while the launch of a modern short-range interceptor missile costs the taxpayers 1,4 a million dollars.
For the successful implementation of the Directed Energy ground defense system (known as Directed Energy), which is known as GBAD, the Naval Research Authority has established interaction with the Dalgren Marine Combat Center, as well as industry-specific development partners GBAD components, including the laser installation itself, batteries, beam guide, communication systems, cooling and command and control, radar. The GBAD system being developed should be easily installed on tactical light tactical vehicles, which include the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the famous Humvee.
The command of the US Marine Corps believes that with the increasing proliferation of unmanned technology, the marines will in the future increasingly have to defend themselves against an adversary who attempts to actively monitor and reconnoiter them from the air. The technologies created under the GBAD program are a direct response to modern challenges and threats in strategic terms, as well as a mobile weapon of directed energy, which is able to eliminate some of the existing threats, in particular, to neutralize enemy drones. Some of the components of this system have already been used for testing purposes to detect and track unmanned aerial vehicles of various sizes. Already in 2014, the US military expects to test the entire system in the complex. We are talking about testing ground-based laser with a power of 10 kW, which should be just one more step towards creating a more powerful 30-kilowatt combat laser.
Tests of an air defense laser unit with a power of 30 kW are planned to be held in 2016. At this point, it will be ready for trial operation. Then the system will move to more complex trials in order to ensure a smooth transition from the detection and tracking of air targets to live combat firing directly from tactical vehicles in service with the US Army.
Colonel William Zamani, who holds the post of head of the development department of the US Navy, notes that the likely opponents of America will be very actively using UAVs, so the expeditionary forces must be prepared to repel such threats. According to him, GBAD will allow marines to feel protected from enemy drones, and in the future will be able to solve a much wider range of tasks. At the same time, at the present stage of technology development, the US military sees GBAD not as the main weapon for combat units, but as an auxiliary anti-aircraft weapon. The undoubted advantages of mobile laser defense systems, they include the lack of ammunition as such and high speed. By installing a GBAD laser on the chassis of the Humvee army vehicle (in Russia it is often called the Hummer, named for the civilian version), the military will be able to get a very mobile and mobile anti-aircraft gun, which will significantly increase the ability to protect military formations from external threats. Such self-propelled laser systems should be able to fire directly in motion.
According to freely available information, the GBAD laser system should weigh no more than 2,5 thousands of pounds (approximately 1,1 tons). It is planned to be mounted on light tactical cars JLTV, which in the future will completely replace the Humvee armored vehicles. The installation will be designed to hit air targets at a short distance with the help of a laser beam of power up to 30 kW. It is reported that each “shot” of the installation will be continuous and will last up to 2 minutes, after which it will be necessary to recharge the installation. On the implementation of the recharge is given no more than 20 minutes of time. During this time, the battery level should reach at least 80%.
Such limitations on the time of firing and reloading are due to the fact that it is not possible to ensure the continuity of operation of a laser mounted on light tactical machines. Therefore, it is planned to implement the option with the accumulation of the required capacity. But even so, the specialists have yet to solve the existing problem with the cooling system of the laser system, which will take up quite a lot of space. At the same time, the Pentagon is confident in the successful implementation of the project to create a mobile laser air defense system. If the project proves successful, a reliable and inexpensive laser may appear on the battlefield, which will be suitable for hitting an enemy UAV. To solve this problem, the laser is best suited, since the laser system has the highest shooting accuracy, almost zero collateral damage and low cost of the shot itself.
Radar company RADA Electronic Industries
Currently, you can not find so much specifics on the composition of the mobile laser system. Nevertheless, the network has information that the Office of Research of the US Navy picked up a radar for her. The choice was made in favor of a radar system with an active phased antenna array - AFAR RPS-42 produced by the Israeli company RADA Electronic Industries. Thus, the GBAD program, aimed at the development of a short-range air defense laser complex based on a light vehicle capable of firing in motion, is overgrown with details. It is reported that this air defense system will be able to hit radar and visually unobtrusive aerial targets.
The tactical radar RPS-42 with AFAR is able to detect, track and classify even micro and mini drones located at a distance of 10 kilometers. This radar is able to accurately track threats when operating in motion and at sufficiently large elevation angles. In addition to the UAVs, this radar is able to work on targets such as mines, artillery shells, short-range missiles, helicopters and airplanes.