Navy gears-up for research efforts in electromagnetic weapons and high-power lasers for ship defense at sea

Aug. 21, 2023
NRL needs help with design, prototyping, and evaluation of electromagnetic warfare technologies and ultra-short-pulse and high-energy laser weapons.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy electromagnetic weapons researchers are surveying industry to find companies able to support research efforts into high-power RF and microwave weapons and high-power lasers to protect surface warships from missiles, swarming boats, and unmanned aircraft.

Officials of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington have issued a sources-sought notice (N0017323RGA01) for the High Power Electromagnetic Systems Development, Application, and Test project.

NRL needs contractors to help with design, prototyping, and evaluation not only of electromagnetic warfare technologies, but also of ultra-short-pulse and high-energy laser weapons.

Efforts involve improving RF, millimeter wave, and infrared countermeasures to defend against enemy missiles, improvised explosives, unmanned aircraft, and small-boat swarm attacks for ship defense.

Related: The new era of high-power electromagnetic weapons

High-power microwave technologies have been developed that require additional design, development, rapid prototyping, and limited production. Contractors will provide experienced scientific, technical, management, and logistics personnel.

Of specific interest is research support into high-power microwaves to counter electronic sensors, unmanned aircraft, anti-ship cruise missiles; support involves system analysis and design, prototype development, system test, data collection, and computer simulation.

Contractors also will evaluate the vulnerabilities of jam-resistant navigation systems, and the type of jamming and deception systems capable of defeating them.

Related: An upward trajectory for directed-energy weapons

NRL is responsible for research into electromagnetic warfare systems such as directed-energy and electronic countermeasures systems for improved ship defense countermeasures that use high-power RF, high-power lasers, and electrostatic discharge systems to stop enemy vessels and blind their sensors.

From industry, NRL wants capabilities statements related to electromagnetic weapons and high-power lasers for ship protection, including prior experience, available staffing, and related information.

Companies interested should email responses to the Navy's Gabrielle Arthur no later than 27 Aug. 2023 at [email protected]. More information is online at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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