US Navy deploys ODIN counter-UAS laser

Harry Lye 24 February 2020 (Last Updated February 24th, 2020 12:24)

The US Navy has installed its first Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), a laser weapon designed to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

US Navy deploys ODIN counter-UAS laser
Artist’s rendering of Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS system. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

The US Navy has installed its first Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), a laser weapon designed to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The first ODIN laser system was installed on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey during a recent dry-docking.

Unlike hard-kill laser systems already deployed by the US Navy on vessels, ODIN uses a dazzling laser to confuse systems sensors and cameras or, in manned systems, potentially cause glare in a pilot’s vision.

Assistant secretary of the Navy for research development and acquisition James F. Geurts said: “This is a great example of our organic talent at the warfare centres all working together with ship’s company to deliver a system which will provide game-changing capability.

“Bravo Zulu to the entire ODIN team on being mission-focused and delivering lethal capability to the warfighter.”

ODIN underwent rapid development, going from approved idea to installation in a two and a half year period. The deployment on USS Dewey is the first operational employment of the dazzling laser.

The US Navy said that the new system would allow the service to rapidly deploy a new capability to help safeguard ships from UAS threats. The Navy added that UAS production and employment has increased significantly, with ODIN specifically designed to protect against this.

Programme Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems Directed Energy office Commander David Wolfe said: “The Pacific Fleet Commander identified this urgent Counter-Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance need and the Chief of Naval Operations directed us to fill it as quickly as possible.

“The NSWC Dahlgren Division team did an amazing job addressing challenges and keeping our accelerated schedule on track and moving forward to deliver this capability.”

The Navy has plans to roll ODIN out to more vessels in the fleet and will use the wider installation of ODIN systems to inform further development and installation of other surface navy laser weapon systems.