US Navy Deploys Warship Armed With New Anti-Drone Laser System

BY ISABEL VAN BRUGEN |

A DC-130H Hercules drone control aircraft banks to the left while passing over the guided missile cruiser USS CHOSIN (CG-65). (Photo by USAF)

The U.S. Navy has deployed a warship armed with its first laser weapon defense system capable of blinding and distracting enemy drones.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said in a Feb. 20 report that the Navy’s Optical Dazzling Interdictor, or ODIN laser weapon, was recently installed on the USS Dewey guided missile destroyer.

The new laser-based drone defense system is capable of tracking, disabling and jamming the sensors of enemy drones, or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), according to a Congressional Research Service report (pdf) from December 2019, titled “Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile.”

“The weapon will also feed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data into the ship’s combat system and provide a counter-UAS (C-UAS) ISR dazzler capability,” the report states, referring to ODIN and the Navy’s HELIOS—High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-Dazzler and Surveillance system. “The dazzler uses a lower power setting to confuse or reduce ISR capabilities of a hostile UAS.”

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