Navy installs laser on destroyer to counter unmanned intelligence drones

By Justin Katz / February 21, 2020 at 12:14 PM

The Navy said yesterday it completed the first installation of a laser weapon system designed to counter unmanned surveillance drones onboard a destroyer.

The service has spent the past several years experimenting with a variety of directed energy weapons, but the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Dewey (DDG-105) was equipped with an Optical Dazzling Interdictor during a recent dry-docking selected restricted availability, according to the Navy statement.

The installation on the Dewey is the first of at least eight planned installations, according to the service's fiscal year 2021 budget justification documents.

"Going from an approved idea to installation in two and a half years, ODIN's install on Dewey will be the first operational employment of the stand-alone system that functions as a dazzler," according to the Navy statement.

The service's FY-21 budget request includes $34 million for ODIN and will be used to continue procuring and installing several units throughout the fleet.

ODIN's installation on Dewey will also inform the Navy's efforts for the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System, another directed energy weapon system that the service plans to install onboard destroyers.