Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress.
FROM THE PREAMBLE OF THE REPORT
READ THE ENTIRE REPORT CLICK HERE:
Three new ship-based weapons being developed by the Navy—solid state lasers (SSLs), the
electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP), also known as
the hypervelocity projectile (HVP)—could substantially improve the ability of Navy surface ships
to defend themselves against surface craft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and eventually antiship cruise missiles (ASCMs).
The Navy has been developing SSLs for several years, and in 2014 installed on a Navy ship a
prototype SSL called the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) that was capable of countering surface
craft and UAVs. The Navy is now developing SSLs with improved capability for countering
surface craft and UAVs, and eventually a capability for countering ASCMs.
Navy efforts to develop these more capable lasers include
the Solid State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) effort;
the Ruggedized High Energy Laser (RHEL);
the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN);
the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) Increment 1, also known as
the high-energy laser with integrated optical dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS);
the High Energy Laser Counter-ASCM Program (HELCA)
The Navy refers to the first four efforts above collectively as the Navy Laser Family of Systems
(NFLoS). Under the Navy’s laser development approach, NFLOS and HELCAP, along with
technologies developed by other parts of DOD, are to support the development of future, more
capable shipboard lasers.
The Navy has been developing EMRG for several years. It was originally conceived as a naval
surface fire support (NSFS) weapon for supporting Marines and other friendly forces ashore.
Subsequently, it was determined that ERGM could also be used for air and missile defense, which
strengthened interest in ERGM development. More recently, it was determined that the projectile
to be fired by ERGM could also be fired by existing powder-propellant guns, including 5-inch
and 155 mm guns on Navy cruisers and destroyers, and 155 mm artillery guns operated by the
Army and Marine Corps. When fired from power guns, the projectile does not fly as quickly as it
does when fired from an ERGM, but it still flies quickly enough to be of use as an air-defense
weapon. The concept of firing the projectile from powder guns is referred to as GLGP and HVP.
One potential advantage of HVP/GLGP is that, once developed, it can be rapidly deployed on
Navy cruisers and destroyers and in Army and Marine Corps artillery units, because the powder
guns in question already exist.
To Read The entire report on line click here: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/R44175.pdf
In addition to the question of whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s FY2020 funding
requests for SSLs, ERGM, and HVP/GLGP, issues for Congress include the following:
whether the Navy is moving too quickly, too slowly, or at about the right speed in
its efforts to develop these weapons;
the Navy’s plans for transitioning these weapons from development to
procurement and fielding aboard Navy ships; and
whether Navy the Navy’s shipbuilding plans include ships with appropriate
amounts of space, weight, electrical power, and cooling capacity to accommodate