Military Embedded Systems

All-electric laser weapon tested for first time with U.S. Navy


April 14, 2022

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Navy photo.

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. A February demonstration marked the first time the U.S. Navy used an all-electric, high-energy laser weapon to defeat a target representing a subsonic cruise missile in flight. The ground-based laser system identified the red drone flying by and shot a high-energy beam invisible to the naked eye. 

Known as the Layered Laser Defense (LLD), officials claim that the weapon was designed and built by Lockheed Martin to serve as a multi-domain, multi-platform demonstration system.

It is designed to counter unmanned aerial systems and fast-attack boats with a high-power laser, and use its high-resolution telescope to track in-bound air threats, support combat identification, and conduct battle damage assessment of engaged targets.

The drone shoot-down by the LLD was part of a recent test sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) at the U.S. Army’s High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The demonstration was a partnership between ONR, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) and Lockheed Martin.


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