Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on potential Navy shipboard lasers for countering surface, air, and ballistic missile threats. It does not discuss the use of lasers on Navy aircraft or submarines, or the use of lasers by other military services. This report is based on unclassified information from Navy, RAND,4 industry briefings on shipboard lasers provided to CRS and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in the summer of 2010, a follow-on unclassified Navy briefing on shipboard lasers provided to CRS and CBO in May 2011, and unclassified open-domain information. CRS requested the Navy and industry briefings to support the preparation of this report. Unless otherwise indicated, information presented in this report (including the appendices) is taken from the briefings. For purposes of this report, the term "short range" generally refers to ranges of one or two nautical miles, while references to longer ranges or extended ranges refer to ranges of up to about 10 nautical miles.5 Lasers are one type of directed energy weapon (DEW); other DEWs include microwave weapons and millimeter wave weapons.
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