Navy Installing More Directed Energy Weapons on DDGs, Conducting Land-Based Laser Testing This Year

The Navy continues to learn more about a pair of directed energy weapons, as the service installs the fourth and fifth dazzler system this year and begins land-based testing of a high-energy laser weapon, the program executive officer for integrated warfare systems told USNI News.

The Navy has been in parallel working on an Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) program, a nonlethal weapon that can confuse instead of shoot down drones, which will become part of the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) program that Lockheed Martin has been developing since 2018.

“ODIN is unique because it’s a government-designed, -built, -tested, -installed system, which I think allowed us to go fairly quickly and meet that urgent need that came from the fleet,” Rear Adm. Seiko Okano told USNI News last week.

ODIN is already installed on three Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and will be installed on two more this year and three more in the coming years, for a total of eight DDGs that will help test out the system during the course of their training and operations, Okano said.

She said the ODIN capability is definitely something the Navy wants for the fleet – the ability to counter intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities from an adversary by using a non-lethal dazzler against pesky drones, rather than shooting them down – but ODIN’s current form factor won’t be the final tool fielded broadly in the fleet.

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