That future is now.
"It fundamentally changes the way we fight," said Capt.
The solid-state Laser Weapon System is designed to target what the
Rail guns, which have been tested on land in
But both systems have shortcomings.
Lasers tend to loser their effectiveness if it's raining, if it's dusty, or if there's turbulence in the atmosphere, and the rail gun requires vast amount of electricity to launch the projectile, said
Producing enough energy for a rail gun is another problem.
Technology from the three ships in that DDG-1000 series will likely trickle down into future warships, said Capt.
Engineers are also working on a battery system to store enough energy to allow a rail gun to be operated on warships currently in the fleet.
Both weapon systems are prized because they serve to "get ahead of the cost curve," Ziv said.
In other words, they're cheap.
Each interceptor missile aboard a
With a laser operating on about 30 kilowatts of electricity — and possibly three times that in the future — the cost amounts to a few dollars per shot, Thompson said.
The "Star Wars" analogy isn't a bad one.
Just like in the movies, the
The targeting system locks onto the target, sending a beam of searing heat. "You see the effect on what you are targeting but you don't see the actual beam," Ziv said.
Other nations are developing their own lasers, but the
Most folks are stunned to learn the technology is ready for deployment, Ziv said.
"It's fair to say that there are other countries working on this technology. That's safe to say. But I would also say that a lot of what makes this successful came from the way in which we consolidated all of the complexity into something that can be operated by (a single sailor)," he said.
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