The Chief of Naval Operation (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday, during a visit to the Naval Support Facility in Dahlgren, Virginia, stated that laser weapons and high-velocity projectiles are no longer science fiction.
“The development and adoption of new technologies like directional energy and high-velocity projectiles is not science fiction – it is happening today – and the workforce here in Dahlgren makes it possible,” said Gilday.
During the visit, CNO received information at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (ODIN) on various programs such as High Energy Lasers, Solid State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) and Layered Laser Defense (LLD), as well as the Navy’s Optical Dazzler Interdictor (ODIN) NSWC) Dahlgren.
The SSL-TM program builds on ONR developments and insights gained from other laser research initiatives, including the MK 38 Tactical Laser Demonstration, which was tested at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. All of these efforts could help make the Department of the Navy the first of the armed forces to use high-energy laser weapons.
With respect to the ODIN, this development, testing and production was carried out by Navy subject matter experts in the Dahlgren Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in support of the Integrated Warfare Systems of the Program Executive Office. Working on the laser weapon system known as LaWS, they were designated as design and manufacturing agents 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 few years.
Naval ships face an increasing number of threats as they conduct their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and enemy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The navy’s development of directional energy weapons such as SSL-TM and ODIN offers immediate benefits to warfighters and provides the commander with more freedom of choice and responses.
CNO also spoke to the management of the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS), met with students from the AEGIS Training and Readiness Center (ATRC), toured the trainer of the reconfigurable combat information center and watched the demonstration of the virtual maintenance trainer at ATRC.
“As we continue to develop the technology of our future fleet, it is also vital that we develop our sailors for the future,” said Gilday. “With state-of-the-art combat systems trainers like I’ve seen here today, I’m confident our sailors receive training that will prepare them for any situation they may face now and in the future.”
The mission of the NSWC Dahlgren Division is to provide war systems to protect our nation and defeat our adversaries with a vision to design, develop and integrate technologically superior war systems of the 21st century. As the leading naval science and engineering institute, Dahlgren technology is critical to the integration and interoperability of new surface warfare systems for today’s fleet, tomorrow’s fleet and tomorrow’s fleet.
CSCS and its ATRC learning center are located in Dahlgren, Virginia. CSCS prepares seafarers to operate, maintain and tactically use sensors, weapons, communications, combat systems and deck equipment.