Lockheed Martin is awarded a letter contract, worth around $22.4 million, to integrate Layered Laser Defense (LLD) weapon system prototype onboard a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship (LCS).
The contract (N00014-20-C-1003), awarded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), calls for “the integration, demonstration, testing and operation of the LLD weapon system prototype onboard a littoral combat ship while that vessel is underway”. This will be the first time a laser weapon system is integrated onboard an LCS class vessel.
Key areas of work to be performed include development of a prototype structure and enclosure to protect the LLD from ships motion and maritime environment in a mission module format; system integration and test with government-furnished equipment; platform integration and system operational verification and test; systems engineering; test planning; data collection and analysis support; and operational demonstration.
The contract work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey (30%); Baltimore, Maryland (25%); Sunnyvale, California (12%); Woodinville, Washington (10%); Manassas, Virginia (5%); Dallas, Texas (15%); San Diego, California (2%); and Santa Cruz, California (1%). Work is expected to be complete by July 2021.
In January, USNI News reported that the U.S. Navy is planning to install a laser weapon on a Littoral Combat Ship this year adding that the effort would contribute to a larger layered laser defense effort.
According to the report that cited Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Richard Brown, the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Little Rock (LCS-9) will receive a laser weapon during its upcoming deployment. The report said that the ship will likely deploy to U.S. 4th Fleet, where her sister ship USS Detroit (LCS-7) is currently operating.
“USNI News understands that Little Rock would be taking on a Lockheed Martin-made 150-kilowatt high energy laser, as part of a risk reduction effort between the company, the Office of Naval Research and the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems”, saif the USNI News report.
The U.S. Navy is developing multiple laser weapon systems under the larger Navy Laser Family of Systems (NLFoS) effort. These include Solid-State Laser – Technology Maturation (SSL-TM), the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS), Ruggedized High Energy Laser (RHEL), and the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) efforts.
The SSL-TM is designed for amphibious assault ships, while the HELIOS and ODIN are designed for guided-missile destroyers. The are currently no plans to install the RHEL system on naval vessels.
The SSL-TM Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (SSL-TM LWSD) was installed onboard San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD-27) while the first ODIN Counter-UAS laser weapon system was installed on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105).
In May 2019, it was announced that the U.S. Navy is planning to equip its destroyer USS Preble (DDG-88) with the HELIOS laser weapon system by 2021.