Friday, June 19, 2015

Navy Considers Laser Weapons for Carriers |

Navy Considers Laser Weapons for Carriers | The Navy may outfit is new Ford-class aircraft carriers with a wide range of laser weapons to shoot down incoming missiles and eventually provide offensive fire power, senior service official said.

With this future in mind, the Ford-class carriers are built with three times the electrical power generating capacity compared to Nimitz-class carriers, Moore said.

The USS Ford is able to generate 13,800 volts of electrical power, more than three times the 4,160 volts that a Nimitz-class carrier generates, said Rear Adm. Thomas Moore, Program Executive Officer, Carriers.

As the technology matures, Navy leaders anticipate using a number of lasers to assist existing missiles designed for carrier defense.

"The current technology in directed energy, with the power and cooling required, means that the installations are big and they are heavy – but the technology is rapidly advancing. I’ve seen some concepts that start to get the sizes down," said Rear Adm. Michael Manazir, Director of Air Warfare.

While much less expensive than defensive missiles engineered aboard the Ford-class carriers such as the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and the Rolling Airframe Missile, laser technology requires a large amount of on-board, transportable electrical power.