USS Portland zaps target in successful laser weapon test
The USS Portland was involved in the recent successful test of the most powerful laser developed by the U.S. Navy.
The ship named for the city of Portland destroyed an airborne drone on May 16 with the new MK 2 MOD 0 laser, also known as a Solid State Laser - Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator.
The high-energy weapon system was developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on the USS Portland for the demonstration at sea. The test is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser.
"By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and small craft, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats," said Capt. Karrey Sanders, USS Portland commanding officer.
The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons, inlcuding lasers, since the 1960s. Directed-energy weapons are electromagnetic systems that create radiated energy to target adversaries.
Navy officials said new directed-energy weapons could help ships deal an increasing number of threats. "The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems, " said Sanders. "With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy."
The USS Portland is the Navy's 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. It is the third U.S. Navy vessel to bear the USS Portland name. It's also the first to be named solely for Oregon's largest city.
Also known as the LPD 27, the USS Portland is 684 feet long, 105 feet wide, displaces 25,000 tons and can carry up to 800 U.S. Marines on board. The ship is also designed for humanitarian first-response situations, such as aiding disaster recovery efforts.
The USS Portland left the Ingalls Shipbuilding yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where it was built, on Dec. 15, 2017. It was christened at Terminal 2 in Portland on April 21, 2018.
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