Monday, February 26, 2024

Chief of Naval Operations: directed energy weapons are not science fiction

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Mike Gilday during a visit to Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, Virginia stated, that laser weapons and high-velocity projectiles were not science fiction.

“The development and fielding of new technology like directed energy and high-velocity projectiles are not science fiction – they’re happening today – and the workforce here in Dahlgren is making that happen,” said Gilday.

During the visit, CNO received briefs on a variety of programs like High Energy Lasers, Solid Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) and Layered Laser Defense (LLD), and the Optical Dazzler Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren.


The SSL-TM program builds upon ONR’s directed-energy developments and knowledge gained from other laser research initiatives, including the MK 38 Tactical Laser Demonstration tested at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. All of these efforts could help the Department of the Navy become the first of the armed forces to deploy high-energy laser weapons.


As to the ODIN, this development, testing and production was done by Navy subject matter experts at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division in support of Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems. Their work on the laser weapon system known as LaWS, positioned them to be designated as the design and production agent for ODIN.

The ODIN program is still in its infancy, but the Navy hopes to roll it out with other ships in the fleet over the next couple of years.

ODIN. Photo by Lieutenant Rachel Maul

Navy ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The Navy’s development of directed energy weapons like the SSL-TM and ODIN, provides immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.

CNO also spoke with Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) leadership, met with AEGIS Training and Readiness Center (ATRC) students, toured the Reconfigurable Combat Information Center Trainer and observed the Virtual Maintenance Trainer demonstration at ATRC.

“As we cultivate our future Fleet’s technology, it’s also vitally important that we develop our Sailors for the future too,” said Gilday. “Through state-of-the-art combat-systems trainers, like the ones I saw here today, I am confident that our Sailors are receiving training that will make them ready for any situation they face, both now and in the future.”

NSWC Dahlgren Division’s mission is to deliver warfare systems to protect our nation and defeat our adversaries with a vision to design, develop, and integrate technologically superior, 21st century warfare systems. As a premier naval scientific and engineering institution, Dahlgren technology is critical to new surface warfare systems integration and interoperability for today’s fleet, tomorrow’s fleet and the fleet of the future.

CSCS and its learning site, ATRC, are co-located in Dahlgren, Virginia.  CSCS prepares Sailors to operate, maintain and tactically employ sensors, weapons, communications, combat systems and deck equipment.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Colton Jones
Colton Jones
Colton Jones is the deputy editor of Defence Blog. He is a US-based journalist, writer and publisher who specializes in the defense industry in North America and Europe. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere. He is a former Air Force airmen and served at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.



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