LOCKHEED MARTIN TO ARM U.S NAVY LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP USS LITTLE ROCK WITH LASER WEAPON

LOCKHEED MARTIN TO ARM U.S NAVY LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP USS LITTLE ROCK WITH LASER WEAPON

January 18, 2020 42 By Kailee Schamberger


The U.S. Navy says the Freedom class Littoral
Combat Ship USS Little Rock will get a 150-kilowatt class laser weapon system from Lockheed Martin
this year. This would make Little Rock the third of the
US Navy warships to be fitted with a high-power laser. Viewers may note that Arleigh Burke class
destroyer USS Dewey and the San Antonio class landing platform dock amphibious ship USS
Portland have got lasers installed last year. As reported by USNI News, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral
Richard Brown, Commander of Naval Surface Forces told reporters about the imminent laser
installation on Jan 13, 2020. Vice Admiral Brown did not reveal what laser
the Navy would install on Little Rock, but some variant of Lockheed Martin’s High Energy
Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance system, or HELIOS seems to be the most likely
one. In this video Defense Updates reports on the
deployment of USS Little Rock will get a 150-kilowatt class. Let’s get started. This video is sponsored by War Thunder, the
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bonus tank or aircraft or ship and three days of premium account. The littoral combat ship (LCS) is a set of
two classes the Independence and Freedom. Construction of the Freedom-class is spearheaded
by Lockheed Martin at Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, while that of
Independence-class ships is led by Austal USA in Alabama. These are relatively small surface vessels
and primarily designed for operations near shore. During the late 1990s, the U.S. Navy understood
that cruisers and destroyers would be vulnerable to attacks in shallow coastal waters. Large warships like cruisers and destroyers
are designed for open-ocean warfare and not for shallow water where these can be targeted
by high-speed boats, missile-firing fast-attack craft, small submarines, sea mines, and land
and air-launched anti-ship missiles. The idea behind the littoral combat ship,
as described by former Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, is to “create a small,
fast, maneuverable and relatively inexpensive member of the DD(X) family of ships.” If required these ships will absorb an attack
and protect the much more expensive cruiser or destroyers. The LCS is envisioned to be a networked, agile,
stealthy surface combatant capable of defeating anti-access and asymmetric threats in coastal
waters. Interestingly, the LCS has a modular design. The vessels can be configured with different
modules for specific roles that include anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, anti-surface
warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, homeland defense, maritime intercept, special
operations, and logistics. In the long run, the LCSs are expected to
progressively replace slower and specialized ships such as minesweepers and amphibious
assault ships. USS Little Rock (LCS-9) is a Freedom-class
littoral combat ship (LCS) of the United States Navy. She is the second ship named after Little
Rock, the capital city of Arkansas. USS Little Rock has a length of 115 m (378
ft) and a displacement of 3,500 tonnes when fully loaded. The ship uses two Rolls-Royce MT30 36 MW (48,000
hp) gas turbines and two Colt-Pielstick 16PA6B 6.8 MW (9,100 hp) diesel engines to power
4 Rolls-Royce steerable waterjets. USS Little Rock has speed of 47 kn + (54 mph;
87 km/h) and has a range of 3,500 nmi (6,500 km; 4,000 mii)
It accommodates 50 core crew and a total of 65 with mission crew. The design of the vessel incorporates a large
reconfigurable seaframe to allow rapidly interchangeable mission modules, a flight deck with integrated
helicopter launch, recovery and handling system and the capability to launch and recover boats
(manned and unmanned) from both the stern and side. In a standard configuration, USS Little Rock
armament will consist of an 11-cell Raytheon RIM-116B SeaRAM missile-defense system, BAE
Systems Mk 110 57 mm naval gun, and Mark 50 light-weight torpedoes launched from torpedo
tubes. It can accommodate two Fire Scouts or one
Seahawk USS Little Rock could be armed with Naval
Strike Missiles for Anti Surface warfare is required. Viewers may note that the U.S Navy had awarded
Lockheed Martin a $150 million contract in 2018, with options worth up to $943 million
for the development of high power laser systems. The program aims to develop 2 prototypes – one
for land and another for warships. As per Lockheed Martin with the HELIOS system,
it will “help the Navy take a major step forward in its goal to field a laser weapon system
aboard surface ships.” The HELIOS effort is focused on rapidly developing
and deploying a 60-kilowatt high-energy laser with “growth potential” to 150 kilowatts. Lockheed Martin said it demonstrated that
a 10-kilowatt system can defeat small airborne targets with the “speed of light” capability
and that a 30-kilowatt system had disabled a stationary truck target. HELIOS combines three key capabilities fused
into a single weapon system: 1. A high-energy laser system: The high-energy
fiber laser will be designed to counter unmanned aerial systems and small boats. 2. A long-range ISR capability: HELIOS sensors
will be part of an integrated weapon system and provide Intelligence, surveillance, target
acquisition, and reconnaissance capability. 3. UAS dazzler capability: The HELIOS dazzler
will be uses to disable UAS (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) of rivals. Lasers have some very important advantages
when compared to conventional weapons. The speed of light enables them to hit their
targets almost instantaneously. Laser weapons also don’t need to carry ammunition
like traditional systems and hence they will be able to take out a much larger number of
threats constrained only by the power supply limit of the platform. This is pretty significant as traditional
air defense systems can run out of ammunition when encountering a large number of incoming
threats. Lasers are also so much cheaper and could
cost as less as $1 per shot. It is interesting to note that the US Navy
has already taken steps to provision for Laser technology in its latest Ford class supercarriers. Ford class has 2 Bechtel A1B nuclear reactors. Each one these are capable of producing 300
MW of electricity, triple the 100 MW of each Nimitz-class vessel. The huge power supply provides the legroom required for inducting Lasers and Electromagnetic Rail Guns. Laser is important since American rivals have
put a lot of effort into developing and deploying several types of very capable Anti Ship missiles. Russia and China have supersonic Anti Ship
missiles. Not only this, Russia has already deployed
a Hypersonic Air-Launched Cruise Missile Kinzhal that can target naval assets and is in the
process of arming its warships with Zircon Hypersonic Anti-ship Missile. Traditional anti-missile defense onboard American
warships like RIM-162A Evolved SeaSparrow Missile will invariably find it difficult
to intercept these missiles. As Laser technology matures, it could be a
great counter against this threat. It is to be noted that Laser is not the only
system being developed to meet emerging threats. The Congressional Research Service said in
a May report that the US Navy is developing 3 new ship-based weapons: lasers, an electromagnetic
railgun, and a gun-launched guided projectile. As per the report, these weapons “could substantially
improve” the ability of surface ships to defend against small surface craft, unmanned aerial
vehicles and, eventually, anti-ship cruise missiles. The report states, “Any one of these new weapons,
if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a ‘game changer’ for defending
Navy surface ships” against enemy missiles, The research service noted that the U.S Navy
has made “substantial progress” toward deploying lasers on ships. Focus on Lasers indicates that US Navy is
actively working to transition to non-kinetic weapons.