Israel May Expand Counter-Rocket, Artillery And Mortar Use

By David Eshel Tel Aviv
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

A return to solid-state laser technology is also in sight as power and efficiency improve. In May 2012, Northrop Grumman test-fired a ruggedized and compact high-power solid-state laser designed to form the basic module of future weapons. The 13.3-kw, solid-state slab laser called Gamma is part of Northrop Grumman's Firestrike family of high-power lasers, which harness multiple modules to produce the power needed for weapon effects. The Gamma demonstrator is a single building block that would be combined with chain blocks to create laser power in excess of 100 kw.

Rheinmetall Defense of Germany has test-fired a 50-kw laser at mortar shells flying at 50 meters/sec. Company officials say that by employing Rheinmetall's Beam Superimposing Technology, a future laser weapon could deliver 100-kw output—considered the optimal power level for a C-RAM weapon.

The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, plans to deploy a solid-state laser weapon in the Persian Gulf in fiscal 2014—two years ahead of schedule. The laser, slated for the USS Ponce, an amphibious transport dock, has shot down a drone.

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