ARLINGTON, Va., 27 Aug. 2012. U.S. Navy researchers are launching a program to develop and demonstrate a prototype ship-based high-energy solid-state laser weapon for area and close-in self-defense, combat identification, surveillance, communications, and battle management.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has released a broad agency announcement for a program that seeks the quick development and prototyping of solid-state laser weapons for testing at sea on naval surface warships -- most likely the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer or Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
The Navy laser weapon program details are laid out in the Research and Development/Technology Maturation of solid-state High Power Laser Weapon Systems, Subsystems, and Components for Surface Navy program (ONR BAA 12-019), which is sponsored by the ONR Naval Air and Weapons Department (ONR 35) and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Directed Energy and Electric Weapon Systems Program Office (PMS405).
The program seeks to demonstrate the technical maturity of solid-state laser weapons aboard moving ships against enemy ships and aircraft at realistic ranges, in maritime conditions, within the host ship's available power and cooling capabilities, connected to the ship's combat control and support systems.
Prior to combatant ship installation, prototypes may be tested at sea on non-combat vessels to ensure technical maturity. Also to be prototyped, in addition to a solid-state laser weapon, will be related weapon subsystems and ship interfaces.
Navy researchers want to use a modular open-systems architecture for the technology demonstration, which will be open to many different vendors and will rely on open-systems standards. Subsystems may be developed in parallel, by different contractors, and be interchangeable among prototype laser weapons as they are tested.
Companies interested should send full proposals no later than 16 Oct. 2012, addressed to ONR's Peter Morfison at ONR Department Code 352, 875 N. Randolph St., Arlington, VA 22203-1995.
More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/ONR/ONR/ONRBAA12-019/listing.html.