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U.S. Marine Corps receives first ground-based laser approved by the Department of Defense

The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command has confirmed on 19 June that a drone-killing, directed energy weapon prototype is now in the hands of Marines.

According to a statement released by the PEO Land Systems Public Affairs of the Marine Corps, the Compact Laser Weapons System—or CLaWS—is the first ground-based laser approved by the Department of Defense for use by warfighters on the ground.

“This was all in response to a need for counter unmanned aerial systems to take down drones,” said Don Kelley, program manager for Ground Based Air Defense at Program Executive Officer Land Systems. “We developed a CLaWS prototype for Marines to use and evaluate.”

In recent years, the Defense department has assessed directed energy weapons—more commonly known as “lasers”—as an affordable alternative to traditional firepower to keep enemy drones from tracking and targeting Marines on the ground.

CLaWS is not intended to be a standalone system for Marines to use to counter enemy drones. Rather, if the prototype continues to do well in the current research and development phase, it will serve as a component to an overall system used to counter drones.

“We’re providing CLaWS to Marines as a rapid prototype for evaluation,” Kelley said. “Depending on the results, CLaWS could become part of a larger capability set.”

Rapid prototyping, rapid delivery

The GBAD program, managed within the portfolio of PEO Land Systems procured the CLaWS prototype through the Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium—or DOTC—which was commissioned by the then-Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to foster collaboration between government, industry and academia regarding ordnance technology development and prototyping.

“The typical acquisition timeline can be lengthy,” said Lt. Col. Ho Lee, product manager for GBAD Future Weapons Systems at PEO Land Systems. “But this project, from start to finish—from when we awarded the DOTC contract, to getting all the integration complete, …read more

Read more here:: Defence Blog (Naval)

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