Navy Prepares Huge High-Powered Laser for USS Portland

Navy Prepares Huge High-Powered Laser for USS Portland
U.S. Navy photo by Lance Davis

Less than a day ago, The War Zone reported on a mysterious and very large object related to a "U.S. Navy demonstration program" that was being shipped by Northrop Grumman from the relatively small marine in Redondo Beach to San Diego. Now, as the object is set to be transported via truck to the pier, we know what it is. It is a high-energy laser system that we can say with near certainty is part of the Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) program that Northrop Grumman won the contract for in 2015.

SSL-TM looks to deliver a "shipboard laser with a beam power of up to 150kW, which would provide increased effectiveness against small boats and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles]," according to a review of Navy directed energy projects that the Congressional Research Service published in September 2019.

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