Anti ballistic missile lasers to counter the incoming cruise missiles

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Anti ballistic missile lasers to counter the incoming cruise missiles

WASHINGTON - Officials in the US Navy and Air Force recently made clear that they hope to use the lasers they’re developing in the name of anti-ballistic missile defense to shoot down cruise missiles as well.

“There’s great interest in … airborne capabilities for the counter-cruise missile [mission],” Kelly Hammett, director of directed energy work at the US Air Force Research Laboratory, said at the Association of Old Crows electronic warfare conference earlier this week. Navy officials also indicated that mounting lasers on their ships that are powerful enough to take out cruise missiles is one of the service’s main goals.

Sputnik previously reported how eager the Navy is to place lasers on ships: beginning with low-powered ones that can aid in targeting, but eventually ramping up their power output to the point they can cause critical harm to flying objects.

Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, who heads the surface warfare directorate for the Chief of Naval Operations, told Defense News this past May that “the key” for the Navy is the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS), a directed energy weapon with a 5-mile range that Boxall wants on a destroyer by 2021. With a present output of 60 kilowatts, the laser will hopefully be quickly boosted to at least 500 kilowatts.

Indeed, HELIOS is just one of several Pentagon programs aiming to develop solid-state lasers. Others include the Ruggedized High Energy Laser (RHEL); the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN); the Solid State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) effort; and the High Energy Laser Counter-ASCM Program (HELCAP), a computer model for shooting down anti-ship cruise missiles.